Gazpacho! The chilled, raw tomato and vegetable soup from Andalusia, Spain. Ever had it? Love it? Hate it? I can’t say I’ve always loved it, but if you get it right, gazpacho can be so good. At its best, gazpacho is super refreshing and bursting with fresh-from-the-garden summer flavors. At its worst, gazpacho tastes like chunky cold salsa or thin tomato juice, neither of which do I particularly enjoy.
I wanted a texture somewhere in between the two, and far superior flavor. The trick, I discovered, is to blend half of ingredients into creamy oblivion. Then, add the other half and blitz until they break into tiny pieces. You’ll end up with a delicious, rich base, with tiny pieces of tomatoes, cucumber and pepper adding intrigue.
I used a Vidalia onion to kick the flavor up by a few more notches. Vidalias aren’t grown in Spain; they’re grown exclusively within 20 designated counties in South Georgia. The mild winters and low sulphur soil produce a distinctively mellow, sweet flavor that works well in recipes ranging from onion dip to dessert. Yes, dessert!
Vidalia onions are available only in the spring and summer (from April to August), so they seemed perfectly suited for gazpacho. Gazpacho is a raw soup, and other varieties of raw onion are too pungent to let the other flavors shine through. Combined with red, ripe, juicy summer tomatoes, this is the gazpacho that dreams are made of.