Hola Amigos! I am getting ready for a fiesta as I head out with my friends to celebrate the nature before the rains hit us. It’s time to fill those ice boxes with a scrumptious meal and explore the outdoors this summer. My next recipe is a cold tomato soup called Gazpacho, which also happens to be the national soup of Spain. Along with the soup we have a basic grilled ham and cheese sandwich which are commonly known as Bikini sandwich all over the Cataluña region in Spain.
Prep Time: 20 mins. Cooking Time: 10 mins.
Serves: 4 people
• 1 red and green bell pepper each, de-seed and cut into thick juliennes
• 6 fully ripe tomatoes, remove the core, and cut into quarters
• 3 inches or ¼ of a foot long French baguette bread, cut into quarters (preferably stale)
• 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarters
• 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• A few basil leaves, shredded
• 1 fresh jalapenos chilly (optional)
For the dressing –
• 60 ml. of sherry vinegar (You can always use balsamic or red wine vinegar as a substitute)
• 60 ml. of good quality olive oil
• A good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
• A pinch of ground cumin / jeera powder
• A dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional / omit for vegetarian option)
• Mix the chopped peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, basil, garlic and the bread together in a bowl.
• Add all the ingredients of the dressing one by one and mix well. Press the marinade lightly down in the bowl for the ingredients to release the flavors in them.
• Store in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour (you can also keep it overnight for a superb flavorful result).
• Blend it all together with a hand blender or blitz it up in a mixer grinder until it has a desired soup consistency. Store it in a jug in the refrigerator and pack it in the icebox on your way out.
• For the garnish, you can prepare chiffonade (French way of saying juliennes) of basil leaves and sprinkle over the soup.
Note – If you like your vegetables to be wholesome to add to that crunch, finely chop a small amount of all the ingredients of the soup (except the bread) and pour the same dressing and toss. Spoon this mixture in the center of the soup as a garnish. Also drizzle a little olive oil to finish it.
For the Bikini Sandwich -
• 8 slices of bread (baguette, brown, white, multi-grain, whichever bread you like and is handy)
• 4 slices of cheese (preferably manchego cheese)
• 4 slices of ham (preferably Serrano ham, omit if vegetarian)
Place the ham and cheese slices between the bread and grill them on a hot griddle / griller on both the sides. Apply butter/olive oil on the bread while grilling. Grill till golden brown and cut it into half and serve along with the soup.
Note - if you don’t eat pork ham, you can substitute it with chicken ham/salami. If you’re planning to pack the grilled sandwich, make sure its wrapped in silver foil properly as it tends to turn soggy. If you want to keep it even more fresh, just enjoy the soup with a slice of baguette bread with cheese spread and slice of ham on it, either ways its going to be DELICIOSO!!!
Enjoy this refreshing and chilled soup while you are outdoors having a good time. As the FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, this meal surely will lift the spirits up of the defending Campeones, SPAIN!! Try out this recipe and let your hearts and souls scream “Viva España”.
Articles and Images by: Harsh Dixit
Four Seasons Recommends -
Four Seasons Blush Wine with its aromas of freshly crushed strawberries and sweet spice, its the perfect drink for this Spanish soup and cheese sandwich combo. Enjoyed best at 8 - 10° C.