Ah, the Catalan cuisine of Barcelona. It was admittedly difficult finding both gluten-free and vegan menu options and I, admittedly, slipped into a bit of a seafood habit, which had not been a regular part of my diet since February. While I would love to be the “perfect vegan,” I went into veganism with the belief that it was not about being perfect all the time, but about doing something good for myself and for the planet most of the time. I just had to get that out there, so no one gets some crazy idea that Barcelona is a paradise for gluten-free vegans, which is hardly the case (unfortunately).
That said, there is plenty to eat in Spain that does not include Seafood (or meat, for that matter). Among those things, gazpacho — the sweet, slightly tangy, garlicy, flavorful and fresh, chilled soup that was universally good wherever we went. When I studied in Spain 6 years ago, I came home with the same gazpacho cravings I’ve been experiencing now. I quickly disocovered, however, that gazpacho in America does not equal Spanish gazpacho. Here it was either too chunky and underflavored, or overflavored and not in the right way, or just somehow not the same.
That’s why my approach upon this return is different: make it at home and get it right. Luckily for me, I happened to get it right the first time. Perhaps it was all the recipes I practiced in my head, tweaked with each new gazpacho I enjoyed in Spain. When one had a distinct cucumber flavor which I enjoyed, I made a mental note. I liked the gazpachos that were a little tangier, so I made a note to go a bit heavier on the vinegar. Less peppery than the one at Taller de Tapas. A bit thicker than the one served at my hotel.
As much of the above “tweaks” came down to personal preference, I’d love for anyone making this recipe to tweak it to their preferences as well.
3 medium, very ripe red tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber (a regular, slicing cucumber you find during the summer), peeled and coursely chopped
1 small or 1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 small/medium yellow bell pepper, coursely chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup really good extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons raw, naturally fermented red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process with a sharp steel blade until relatively smooth. Taste for seasoning. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Serve garnished with some minced onion, bell pepper or cucumber.