Gazpacho, as we traditionally know it, is a chilled tomato-based soup made from raw vegetables. It is widely eaten through Spain and Portugal, but is a ubiquitous summer standby with numerous variations available from its original form. Below is one such variation - an asparagus gazpacho with a rocket pesto for added punch. I have branched away from tradition and blanched the asparagus, as I didn’t like the texture of the raw version. Bread is also removed from this to ensure it is palatable for any vegan, paleo or gluten-free diets. Enjoy!
500g asparagus cut in half on the diagonal, separating
tips from spears
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 small red onion diced
1/2 avocado chopped in chunks
1/2 deseeded cucumber (optional)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of a lemon
500ml of the asparagus blanching liquid
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and some for drizzle
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Natural yoghurt to drizzle (if diet allows)
Pesto: double quantities if want leftovers
2 good handfuls rocket
1 good handful flat leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup of salted almonds (or plain toasted)
1/3 cup olive oil
Add 4 tablespoons grated parmesan if diet allows
1. Bring a pot to boil with about one litre of water. Blanch (cook) asparagus tips for about 30 secs. Remove with slotted spoon and run asparagus under cold water to ensure they retain their colour and do not continue to cook. Next place the spears in the boiling water and cook for about 6-7 mins. Drain, ensuring you keep 500ml of the cooking liquid.
2. For the pesto, place all ingredients into a blender and mix until you get desired consistency. I like mine quite coarse so you can really taste the peppery rocket flavour. Pour into container and set aside in fridge.
3. Pop all gazpacho ingredients (saving 8 asparagus tips for garnish) into the blender and blitz into a soup. For those who want a very smooth consistency you can strain at this point. If you have decided not to cook your asparagus and go the traditional raw route, I would definitely advise straining.
4. Season with salt and pepper and a little more vinegar if needed and set in fridge to cool.
5. When ready to serve, divide evenly amongst the bowls, place a dollop of pesto in the middle and garnish with drizzles of olive oil and yoghurt, if using, and asparagus heads. An alternative is serving in a shot glass that can be passed round at a party. Serve immediately.