Think Gazpacho Is Summery? Try It Frozen

August  7, 2017

Gazpacho granita simply takes the idea of a cold summer soup to its logical extreme. If we love it cold, why not make it icy? Right?

Gazpacho lovers know that this iconic Spanish soup is pretty flexible. It’s mostly tomatoes whomped up in a food processor or blender, with some cucumber and a bell (or other mild) pepper, not-too-much onion and garlic, and finished with olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Proportions can vary and you can taste as you go. My latest and greatest was made with the super sweet cherry tomatoes known as Sweet 100’s, a wedge of Vidalia onion, good sherry vinegar, and an exquisite California extra virgin olive oil.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Traveling in Spain last year, I was reminded that adding a little soaked bread to the processor, thickens the gazpacho in a very nice way, and turns the color more creamy pink than red. I now add bread to my gazpacho on a regular basis. But in translating gazpacho to granita, I found that the bread was not an asset—icy wet bread is not so nice on the tongue! In the end, I simply made gazpacho (without bread or the extra water that is often added to thin it) and gave it the granita treatment: I poured it into a shallow baking dish, pushed it into the freezer and scraped it a couple of times as it froze.

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The biggest challenge was finding a level place for it in my densely packed freezer. But taste-wise, the resulting granita was tasty and refreshing. You could serve it topped with sour cream or crème fraîche or fresh herbs, or next to a scoop of burrata—or perfectly plain. It’s even delicious—and quite unexpected—with vanilla ice cream (or sour cream or crème fraîche ice cream). See what you think.

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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).