Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peach Gazpacho

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The summers have been here for a while in Delhi, and what a summer it has been this time. Personally, I hate summers, I'm talking about Delhi Summers (yes the Indian summer that everyone overseas talks about). It's hot, as in burning hot and when it rains occasionally, it also gets humid. You get irritable, sick and hate everything outdoors. Eating suffers the most as all the good old dishes , especially the fried ones go out of bounds. You need something which is fresh, refreshing and cold. This is where cold soups come in really handy. Nothing like a nice bowl of cold soup on a really hot day. Gazpacho seems to be a favorite and popular cold soup and coupled with some of the great summer fruits, it just goes to another level. Last week, after days of battling the summer heat, I did just that. 
Gazpacho is a clever combination of the vibrant salad that provides all the nutrients and the much needed energy boost and a cold drink that quenches your thirst ...no wonder some also call it a "liquid salad". Now the very mention of Gazpacho brings tomatoes to one's mind but, unknown to many, this Andalusian dish did not consist of tomatoes originally. It's origins are steeped in mystery and throughout Spain there are numerous variations of the Gazpacho, some which are not even liquid. Some say the Gazpacho is derived from the Arabic word meaning "soaked bread", while some argue that it is derived from the pre-roman word "caspa" meaning "residue" or the Hebrew word "gazaz" meaning "break into pieces". No matter what the origins, one thing is clear -they all reference to bread being an essential ingredient to the gazpacho and that too a soaked bread (soaked in oil and/or vinegar). This dish originally a poor man's food has over the centuries gained much more prominence in the repertoire of master chefs, who have transformed this into an irresistible dish and I added my own touch last week.

Peach Gazpacho
(Serves 6)
Peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks-6
Cucumber, washed, peeled and seeded - 1
Yellow Bell Pepper, cored and chopped - 1
Garlic, minced - 1 Clove
Bread slices, cut into strips - 2
Vinegar - 3 Tblsp ( Use champagne or sherry vinegar or a fruity ones..I used Cider vinegar)
Olive Oil - 4 Tblsp
Water - 1/2 Cup
Sea Salt - To Taste
Black Pepper - 2 Tsp

For the Garnish:
Red Bell Pepper, cut into small cubes - 1
Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into small cubes - 1
Cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes -1/2
Cilantro, finely chopped - 2 Tblsp

1. Soak the bread pieces in 2 Tblsp of vinegar and 2 Tblsp of Olive oil. Keep for atleast an hour.
2. Pulse together the soaked bread slices with all the other ingredients except the garnish vegetables until a pureed consistency is achieved. Add more water if necessary (Note: the consistency of the soup should not be liquidy but little coarser)
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Chill for an hour.
5. Serve cold garnished with a teaspoon of the diced garnish vegetables added in the center and a drizzle of olive oil.


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