Saturday, November 20, 2010

Californian Gazpacho

Delicious, cool relief!  Ahh!  Gazpacho!
     This is not the original Andalusian Gazpacho recipe that is made with stale bread.  This is my version of a Ritz Carlton California style gazpacho recipe.  Californian gazpacho has no stale bread in it and it has a few added vegetables.
     I used to make this recipe when I worked for one of the Ritz Carlton tropical seven star resorts a few years ago.  I didn't care for the executive chef's presentation of this gazpacho.  The chef's presentation was large chunks of vegetables in the tomato gazpacho base with dollop of sour cream.  It looked like a bad, cold, side dish of leftover vegetables.  The creme fraiche is served on top rather than stirred into the gazpacho in my version.  I garnished this gazpacho with a petite plum tomato rose too.
     Gazpacho is in a Garde Manger chefs kitchen territory.  Gazpacho spells refresh and revive from a hot day in any language!  I made this gazpacho using only a paring knife and a ten inch chef knife.  I don't want a food processor in my home kitchen at all!  I like my home cooking done the old fashioned way.  Knives must be razor sharp to mince or puree and for making the garnish for this dish.  You can use a food processor but the texture will not be like a great hand made gazpacho.
     Recipe:  Very finely mince a handful each of these vegetables:  Celery, onion, the white parts of a green onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and peeled seeded cucumber.
     Place the minced vegetables into a mixing bowl.
     Add a minced clove of garlic.
     Add a very thin sliced green part of a green onion.
     Remove the core from a small yellow squash and a small zucchini. (Save the squash cores and seeds to make a nice French Nicoise Sauce for another recipe.) 
     Fine brunoise dice the zucchini and yellow squash.  (A handful of each squash is all that is needed for this recipe.)
     Add the squash brunoise to the mixing bowl.
     Using a very sharp paring knife, peel 3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes.
     Use one tomato peel to create a tomato rose garnish.
     Remove the seeds from the peeled tomatoes. 
     Very finely mince the peeled and seeded tomatoes till they are nearly a puree. 
     Add the pureed tomatoes to the mixing bowl.
     Add a enough tomato juice to the vegetable mixture while stirring to make the gazpacho look like a thick cold soup.
     Add a small dash of worcestershire sauce.
     Add a small splash of virgin olive oil.
     Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add a few pinches of paprika.
     Add a squeeze of lemon juice.
     Add a small splash of red wine vinegar.
     Add sea salt and black pepper. 
     Add a few pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     Let the gazpacho stand at room temperature, covered for one hour, till the flavors meld.
     Ladle the gazpacho into a soup bowl. 
     Place some creme fraiche into a squirt bottle.  (Creme fraiche = 1/2 sour cream + 1/2 cream.) 
     Paint a creme fraiche spiral onthe surface of the gazpacho, starting from the center and spiraling outwards with the squirt bottle. 
     Place a parsley sprig on the center of the soup. 
     Place the reserved petite tomato rose garnish on the center of the soup over the parsley.
     Viola!  Refreshing, slightly spicy, delicate, cool, reviving, yummy gazpacho!  Gazpacho should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.  This gazpacho got plenty of compliments any where I have made this recipe.  The Ritz Carlton chef never allowed me to present gazpacho my way while I worked for Ritz.  The same chef was transferred to the Beverly Hills Ritz Carlton and was fired 2 weeks later!  LOL  I served this California Gazpacho presentation later in other restaurants with great success. 
     The original gazpachos had no cilantro in them.  Cilantro is too strong for a gazpacho that features the delicate flavor of fresh summer vegetables like this recipe does.  This gazpacho is lighter than the original Spanish recipe versions, but then again, I created this improved recipe while in the tropical Caribbean summer heat.  Relief from the heat is the theme of gazpacho! ... Shawna

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