Macho Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is a tomato-based vegetable soup, best served cold. It originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. It is widely consumed in Spanish cuisine, as well as in neighboring Portugal. I adapted this recipe from Le Pain Quotidien, a restaurant in Brentwood, California. This dish is refreshing and cool so I like to make it during the summer months. Ingredients include cucumber, piquillo peppers and a fistful of tomatoes.

Macho Gazpacho
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium red bell pepper or 2½ oz. of roasted piquillo peppers from a jar
  • 2 oz. sourdough baguette, cut into small bits
  • 1¼ cups cold water
  • 6 - 8 vine ripened tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup peeled and diced cucumber
  • ¼ small red onion, cut into squares
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate (or sherry) vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Tobasco
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 6 radishes, finely sliced
  • 8 slices of cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 green onion, green bits only
  • 1 ripe mango
  • olive oil for serving
Instructions
  1. This soup is chilled, so remember to factor in about 4 hours for refrigeration. Place the baguette bits in a bowl with the water and let soak for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Next, roast the bell pepper. Place the whole pepper on a baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, until the skin is blackened. Remove from the oven and place inside a plastic bag or cover with a damp cloth and let cool slightly. Peel, seed and cut the flesh into thin strips.
  3. Prepare the tomatoes. I skewer them and roast them individually over a stovetop burner until the skin blisters and breaks. Dunk the tomato briefly into an ice water bath so the skin will peel easily. Cut around the core and discard the seeds.
  4. Add all the ingredients to a blender, including the roasted pepper strips and tomatoes. Puree the soup until smooth, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let the flavours mature.
  5. To serve, chill bowls. Stir the soup well and place an ice cube in each one. Divide the radishes, cucumber, green onions, and mango among the bowls, then drizzle with the olive oil. Serve with toasted baguette and guacamole.

Pair with Demetria Estates 2011 Pantheon (60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Rhone whites and 100% intriguing). Soft mouth feel, the flavors build to include ripe berries, tobacco, and white pepper.  Medium bodied with full flavor. This outlaw red kicks ass in a glass.

Movie night suggestion: A wandering gunslinger plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge in Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars (1964).

Production notes: Filmed in the Tabernas Desert in Almeria, Spain. The Tabernas is the only European desert.

Since this was an Italian/West/German/Spanish co-production, there was a significant language barrier on the set. Clint Eastwood communicated with the Italian crew mostly through stuntman Benito Stefanelli, who also acted as an unofficial interpreter.

When Clint Eastwood arrived on the set, he was struck by how little the Italian crew and writers knew about the American West they were filming about. For example, he had to point out that coonskin hats were worn by frontiersmen and trappers, not by gunfighters and townsmen of the American West, as the scriptwriters had written.

Clint helped develop his character’s style. He bought the black jeans from a sport shop on Hollywood Boulevard, the hat came from a Santa Monica wardrobe store and the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills store. Eastwood cut the cigars into three pieces to make them shorter. Eastwood is a non-smoker. He wore the same boots that he did in Rawhide (1959).

A fistful of quiet. All footage was filmed silent. Clint Eastwood did not add his voice to the soundtrack until 1967, when the movie was prepared for US release.

This was the first time that Sergio Leone and composer Ennio Morricone worked together.

Clint Eastwood’s trademark squint was caused by the combination of the sun and high-wattage arc lamps on the set.

Go! Eat your gazpacho.

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