This? This is just one more reason one ought to be grateful to the Spaniards for everything they brought into our lives, thus making them so much more complete and enhanced by their beauty and art all around–Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem respectively, Francisco Goya and Pablo Picasso, Madrid and Barthelona, Flamenco, Sangria and… GAZPACHO.

It’s a chilled summer soup made with raw vegetables. In other words, it’s a salad that got whizzed in a blender or a food processor. And is as easy to make as it sounds. I won’t write down a specific recipe, as I didn’t use one when making the soup. Your best bet is to open your ice box and pull out any raw veggies you’d be happy to use in a salad:

– tomatoes

– various peppers

– onions of any kind (shallots, sweet, red, green, chives, etc.)

– cucumbers (peeled and deseeded)

– garlic

– celery stalks

– fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)

– avocado (ripe)

– lemon or lime

– olive oli

– salt and pepper.

You have options when it comes to color and texture. If you choose a color theme, use only red produce for a bright RED GAZPACHO, or go TOTALLY GREEN and skip tomatoes altogether. Be your own soup designer. Whirl and whip it all good in your machine, taste for seasoning, finish with créme fraiche, or thin the soup out with tomato sauce and/or veg or chicken stock. Depending on your preference, you can keep it slightly chunky, or put the bloody mixture through a sieve and collect only the silky juices to enjoy later.

Store the goods in a glass and air-tight container back in the refrigerator and let the flavors merge and blend for a few hours or overnight.  Pour yourself a cup, serve with a slice of freshly baked homemade bread, herbed croutons, croquettes, ham and cheese croissant, or simply on its own. And please, don’t let me limit your choices. Follow your instincts.

My own taste buds are erect and drooling at the simple thought of a taste of CHILLED & SPICY GAZPACHO waiting for me in the refrigerator. This one is slightly different, and I will tell you all about it in my next installment.

Hasta luego!