Flanboyant Eats with Bren: A Gazpacho Fit for a First Lady

Bren Herrera
There was a lot of political debate last week about the First Lady's use (or not) of her better judgment when she decided to take a summery vacation with friends to España. I personally thought the timing of the trip was a bit suspicious, as it took place during her husband's birthday week. But, who knows if he padded her puffy skirt pockets with lots of dough for her and pretty little Sasha to hang in high style and eat like true gourmands.

 

After all, Spain has one of the world's most enticing, refined, creative and innovative cuisines. For the First Lady to pass up any opportunity to eat like a Queen during her visit would have been a crime. So, she did just that by having a delightful lunch with the King and Queen of Spain. The group dined on char grilled turbot, veal escalopes with mustard, Oriental rice with sautéed mushrooms, a Mallorca-style vegetable ratatouille and sliced fruit with ice cream. To drink: Wine from the northern regions of Rueda and Rioja.

But what I took note of was Mrs. Obama's chance to indulge in the nation's traditional and ubiquitous gazpacho. A trip to Spain is not genuine if you don't enjoy a robust bowl of the cold sopa de tomate or tomato soup.

This world famous soup has been seen and tasted in different varieties, but the all time classic is pretty simple and can be the perfect refresher on your menu on a steamy late summer afternoon. Although I didn't have any gazpacho on my last trip to Spain, I vividly remember sitting with my family 11 years ago, outside on a brick patio and under a gorgeous tree. We all sipped our soups and begged to have just one more taste.

Having played with different version and aromatic spices and herbs, I like to think that I make an equally authentic gazpacho and have a recipe that even the First Lady would love to write down!

I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

5 medium vine tomatoes, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic
4 large basil leaves
1/2 jalapeño, rinsed & seeded
8 tsp. red wine vinegar
8 heaping tsp. high quality olive oil
4 tbsp. Manchego cheese, grated and parted (optional, but so good!)
1 tsp. sea salt

 

Method:

Add tomatoes to high powered blender or food processor. Pulse for one minute or until tomatoes begin to break down and liquify. Add peppers, cucumber, garlic, onion, jalapeño, 3 tbsp. of Manchego cheese and all other ingredients. Pulse on high for 2 minutes or until all vegetables are liquified. Taste and adjust salt to taste. Pour in large storage container and chill for 5-6 hours. Serve in large soup cup or bowl, garnishing with remaining Manchego cheese, basil leaves and julienned  cucumber.

 

Serves 6.

 

For additional cooking advice from Bren Herrera, visit Flanboyanteats.com


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