Summer Algarvian Gaspacho

Summer heat has arrived and a refreshing light meal is in order. Gaspacho is a very typical Portuguese dish served cold, mainly popular in the Algarve and Alentejo, plus in various heat-drenched countries.

Today you can learn a little bit about this cold soup and the fact that our Algarvian version is unique. First, ditch the tomato juice. You don’t need any bottled or packaged extra, just plain fresh vegetables.

1 onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 cucumber
5 big plump tomatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons cold water
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Chop everything and mix it all up. Yes, it is that simple! Remember to adjust condiments according to your own preference. Some will like it vinegary. Others will enjoy a tad more salt. And for you olive oil lovers, keep in mind that this is a great way to absorb lycopene as it is a fat-loving vitamin.

The typical recipe is made with leftover stale bread or boiled potatoes.

As with most Portuguese cuisine, a big part of the concoctions we know today are a result of using leftover ingredients, without ever wasting a single thing.

I personally enjoy this provision way of life, but prefer to slightly toast day-old bread and serve it on the side. It’s very delightful to dip in the remaining vinaigrette plus it gives crunchiness to the meal.

Any leftover gaspacho the following day and you don’t feel like eating the same thing?

Add some ground cumin, fresh cilantro and jalapeños to make a tasty salsa dip for nachos! Or use it as a marinade for chicken breast before being baked in the oven, a sauce for topping grilled fish, toss it with some canned smoked mackerel for a light nibble or use it to make a deliciously healthy bruschetta with fresh requeijão.

By Megan Melling

Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started in 2011 when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Estoril. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She has worked as a cook in Lisbon for the past year and is currently in the process of opening up a gourmet project in Lagos. Check out all of her personal recipes on her blog and facebook page Huum, food for some yummi fotos and food facts.
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