The starting point for this recipe came from a recipe from the Las Novedades, a wonderful Spanish restaurant from my hometown of Tampa, FL, in Ybor City. Unfortunately, it is no longer there, having ceased to do business in the 70's. An indespensible cookbook, Clarita's Cocina, by Clarita Garcia, was published in 1969. If you can find a copy, spring for it!! The food there is one of the wonderful memories of my childhood. The stone crabs and Spanish bean soup were transcendent. This stuff is absolutely wonderful on a hot, summer evening.
The Stuff That Goes in It
6-8 ripe tomatoes (try to find decent ones)
1/2 t. or so of paprika
1 T. of salt
1/4 cup of good (Spanish) olive oil
1/4 t. of hot sauce
cayenne pepper: to taste
pepper: to taste
1-2 garlic cloves: crushed
1-2 t. sugar
4 cans of broth (beef, chicken, veggie...I use beef.)
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. (at least) of oregano
pinch of marjoram
chopped: cucumbers, celery, green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, whatever
What to do:
Get a stock pot. Boil water. Make an "x" in the bottom of the tomato. Put in the water. When the skin bursts loose, take out and skin under cool water.
Put in the blender and puree, with the garlic cloves. Strain out seeds and skin through a fine sieve or strainer.
Add the beef stock, salt and pepper, hot sauce, sugar, spices, vinegar, and olive oil. Use a whisk to blend.
Put in bowls, with bowls of chopped veggies for people to add as they wish.
Add a little fresh olive oil, too.
Keep a pepper grinder and a bottle of hot sauce on the table for additional seasoning.
Footnote: There are as may variations of gazpacho as there are people who make it. Some grind up all the veggies together. Some process them only slightly, to get a kind of "gazpacho cruda". Some use cold water, rather than stock and bread crumbs. Go out and look for them.