Gazpacho With Strawberries, Quail Eggs, and Olives


It is hot. When it’s this hot I don’t feel like cooking. When you toss in a new pool in our backyard, making dinner just doesn’t sound like a fun idea. But here’s the problem, I have tomatoes — way too many tomatoes. Now honestly, I love being in the position to share this bounty with others, but it does present problems.

We have tomatoes everywhere. We eat them by the slice. We put them in sandwiches. We toss them in salads. (If I see another Caprese I’m going to loose it.) I make salsa, and use tomatoes in whatever recipe possible. I give some away and, frankly, some just fall on the ground for the squirrels to eat. This coming weekend it’s time to break out the pressure canner and make pasta sauce.

In the interim, I am going to make this Catalan style Gazpacho courtesy of chef Jose Garces and his book The Latin Road Home. My cookbook group reviewed it a month or so ago, and this was one of my sister’s recipes. It’s the perfect hot weather dinner, especially alongside a crisp salad, or with any of your favorite tapas.

Make sure you do the garnishes. They make a difference. And we had fun coming up with our favorite combinations. The strawberries were a pleasant surprise, and by far my favorite addition although we threw ’em in as is, un-charred.  

Gazpacho With Strawberries, Quail Eggs, and Olives
From The Latin Road Home by Jose Garces
Serves 8

A very thorough puree is essential; you want the tomato seeds completely pulverized so that the base has a very smooth, uniform texture. For both the pureeing and the subsequent emulsifying step, you will need to work in batches, divvying up the ingredients proportionally according to the size of your blender and seasoning each to taste with salt and sugar and additional vinegar, if desired.

Be sure that the batches are proportional (otherwise the texture of the finished soup will be off – grainy from too much bread in one batch, or overly viscous from excess olive oil in another batch.) But don’t worry if the batches come out slightly different colors; the soup will blend into one uniform shade when you whisk the batches together.

There are at least three good options for serving this traditional Catalan gazpacho and its various accompaniments: garnish each bowl with a little of each of the embellishments; pass all the extras at the table; or my favorite way (as pictured), arrange the garnishes in the bottom of each bowl and serve each portion of chilled salmorejo in a small crock alongside, to pour over all the goodies.

2 1/ 2 lb. ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/ 2 cup sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
1 small day-old baguette, crust on, torn into 1-inch pieces ——
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/ 2 cup Arbequina olive oil (see Sources)
Kosher salt
1/ 2 tsp granulated sugar (optional)

16 ripe strawberries, stemmed and halved lengthwise
8 Boiled Quail Eggs (page 311), peeled and quartered, or 1 chicken egg, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped
2 Tbsp pitted, slivered kalamata olives
2 (4-oz) cans ventresca tuna packed in olive oil (see page 117), drained and flaked ——- —–
Minced fresh chives (optional)


To Make the Soup
Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and baguette in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Puree in small batches in a blender or food processor for 2 to 3 minutes per batch, until the mixture is very smooth and the tomato seeds are no longer visible. Continue pureeing the mixture while slowly adding the extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream and process until emulsified (try to add proportional amounts of oil to each batch, see headnote). Season to taste with salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing through the solids with the back of a wooden spoon.

Working in batches, return a portion of the puree to the blender. With the machine running, slowly add a proportional amount of the Arbequina olive oil in a thin stream, processing until the mixture is emulsified. Again season to taste with salt and (if necessary) sugar and/or additional vinegar. Repeat with the remaining portions of the tomato puree and Arbequina oil, then whisk the batches together. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and sugar.

Cover and refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled, at least 1 hour.

For the Garnish
First char the strawberries. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place the strawberries in the pan and quickly char on one side. Remove the berries from the skillet and keep warm.

Serve the salmorejo cold, garnished with the warm charred strawberries, quail eggs, olives, tuna, and chives.

PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Jose Garces, The Latin Road Home

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