I was recently on holiday in Tuscany and needed to make a refreshing starter / appetiser for 16 people. My usual go-to is ceviche but that can be tricky and expensive to make for a large group, and I suddenly found myself craving gazpacho. It’s not something I often have, but it’s so simple to do and is a brilliantly easy starter that can be prepared a day in advance and can be made in bulk. It was such a success that I’ve been making it a lot more often!
For 4 people you will need:
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 kg plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- A good glug of quality olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bread, to serve
1. Place the cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spring onions in a large bowl. Drizzle over a few tablespoons of olive oil and the sherry vinegar, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Mix it together with your hands, pressing down to squeeze out the juices, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinade and chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. Put the mixture into a blender and whiz until smooth, or use a hand blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. You might need a little more vinegar or olive oil. Cover and chill again, until really cold and you’re ready to serve.
4. Meanwhile, make the toasts, if using. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Coat the slices of bread generously with olive oil, then place in the oven until they are slightly golden. Rub a garlic cove over the toasts and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the gazpacho ice cold, with basil leaves sprinkles on top and the garlic toasts served on the side.