Spain's Soup-salad

According to James Beard Cookbook of the Year award winner Clifford A. Wright, gazpacho is a liquid salad from the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, is the area’s best known dish, and probably originated as a soup during the time when Spain was part of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. Across the world in Marin, local chefs are taking inspiration from Spain and adding their own twist to the summer dish.

Maika Llorens, owner
Sabor of Spain, San Rafael

Having grown up in Spain, chilled gazpacho is by far my favorite summer meal: light, refreshing and very healthy. We prepare a traditional gazpacho combining ripe local produce tomatoes (sometimes we even use the tomatoes we grow in our backyard in San Rafael from seeds we got in Spain), garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar and a little bit of magic. Serve the soup with tomato, cucumber, pepper and toasted bread. As an option, add a little bit of sherry and serve the soup in a cold shot glass.

Heidi Krahling, owner/chef
Insalata’s, San Anselmo

I have been making gazpacho for years. But it wasn’t until I went to Spain that I had a truly revelatory gazpacho experience.  The secret is a ‘truckload’ of fruity extra- virgin olive oil. The ingredients are simple and pure. It is not supposed to look and taste like salsa. P.S. Don’t skimp on the salt.

Goetz Boje, owner
Cacti Grill, Novato

Gazpacho is a very popular chilled soup at our restaurant. Some of the ingredients we use include diced celery, ripe tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumbers and chopped parsley. We also pay special attention to achieving the right balance between the red wine vinegar and sugar.

Nutritious Soup: Sip away your stress…

Not only is gazpacho an antioxidant-rich soup but, according to the United States Department of Agriculture and the Journal of Nutrition, 12 volunteers who were fed two bowls of it every day for two weeks started showing increased blood levels of vitamin C (more than 20 percent) on only the seventh day. Stress molecules were also measured during the study; one such molecule, uric acid was reduced by 18 percent in the male volunteers and 8 percent in the females. High blood levels of uric acid, have been associated with an increased  risk of cardiovascular disease and gout. Three other stress molecules were also significantly decreased after the two-week study.