I’ve made this cucumber and cashew gazpacho a few times over the summer. My sister Sarah had a bumper cucumber harvest from her vegetable garden, so I used a few for this soup. It’s worth taking the time to soak the cashews, which give the soup a lovely creamy consistency. The vinegar gives it a little sharpness, and the olive oil, a beautiful silkiness. The soup takes just a few minutes to make, and I think it tastes better if you make it a few hours before serving. I love to offer it in small glasses as an amuse bouche when friends come over. It’s also an easy dish for a picnic, transported in a thermos.
Gazpacho is a cold soup of blended raw ingredients, originating in Spain. However, it is mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature. The origin of the word gazpacho is uncertain, but etymologists believe it might be derived from the Mozarab word caspa, meaning “residue” or “fragments” – the small pieces of bread and vegetables in the soup. Mozarabs were the Spanish Christians living in Spain during the period of Muslim domination from about the 9th to the 15th century. Did you know that Spanish cookbooks define gazpacho as a salad? http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/topic_id/5/id/64/
The most commonly encountered gazpacho is an uncooked mixture of tomatoes, onions, capsicum, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and water. This cucumber and cashew gazpacho reminds me of the soup from the Málaga province in Andalusia with almonds and grapes.
Here’s another recipe for a chilled soup on a hot summer’s day: Chilled roasted tomato and capsicum soup
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Cucumber and Cashew Gazpacho
- 1 cup cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
- 2 large cucumbers, washed and chopped
- 2 spring onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups cold water
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak the cashews for about 4 hours in 2 cups of water, then drain.
- Toss all the the ingredients together and blend with a hand-held blender or in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add extra water if needed.
- Adjust to suit your taste: add more vinegar if you like for a sharper taste or olive oil for smoother texture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to make it a couple of hours before I'm ready to serve it so the flavours are developed and it's really cold.
- To serve, garnish with chopped herbs or cucumber and an extra drizzle of olive oil.