Try these gazpacho shots for a taste of pure summer

Lilly Higgins: Serve these chilled at a barbecue – or add vodka for Bloody Mary shots

Gazpacho shots: pure summer

Gazpacho shots: pure summer

 

We are not a nation of gazpacho guzzlers. As Ireland rarely has the weather for anything but leek-and-potato soup, we don’t naturally warm to chilled soups. But in this glorious sunshine a light chilled soup is delicious.

I love to serve shots of flavour-packed gazpacho in little teacups, perhaps with a squeeze of lime or a scatter of celery salt on the rim. The small serving won’t overpower your guests or be as daunting as a big bowl of cold soup. A tray of these placed on the table at a barbecue is a lovely way to serve a healthy vegetable-based accompaniment to all that meat.

I like to think of it as a savoury smoothie that comes together quickly and easily. (As you can make gazpacho up to two days in advance, to keep in the fridge, it is also an ideal entertaining recipe.) Use a food processor or, for a smoother soup, a blender, ideally a NutriBullet or similar high-speed mixer.

In Spain the ingredients, texture and thickness of gazpacho vary regionally and between families. For these little shots I sieve the soup, too, to make it extra creamy and smooth, adding texture and flavour with the garnishes. I use finely diced peppers and cucumbers, and serve some extra in a bowl so everyone can add more if they want to. I love using crunchy radish or celeriac, too, as they’re so peppery and light. Traditionally, gazpacho can be topped with hard-boiled egg. Finally, you should drizzle the soup with olive oil before serving – a good one, as you really will taste it. It forms golden pools on top of the soup and looks beautiful.

This is the perfect thing to make if you have a few home-grown tomatoes and want to showcase them. I usually use very ripe tomatoes for this and try not to keep them in the fridge, as they will smell and taste so much better, and retain their texture, when left at room temperature.

To make this recipe a Bloody Mary shot simply use celery salt, drizzle with vodka instead of olive oil before serving, and put a celery-stick stirrer in each glass. It’s deceptively simple and can look and taste so special.

GAZPACHO SHOTS

Makes 10 small servings

Ingredients
8cm piece of crusty baguette, crusts removed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 generous pinch Maldon salt
2tbsp red-wine vinegar
1tsp sugar
500g ripe tomatoes
500ml tomato juice
100ml olive oil, plus extra best-quality oil for drizzling

To garnish
1tbsp each finely chopped red pepper, yellow pepper and cucumber

Method
Soak the bread in a cup of water for a minute, then take it out and squeeze it dry.

Put the bread, crushed garlic, salt, vinegar, sugar and half the tomatoes into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining tomatoes and the tomato juice. Keep the blender on as you pour the olive oil into the mixture slowly. Blend until it is completely smooth. Sieve the soup into a bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon to force the mixture through.

Chill the soup until very cold and adjust the seasoning if necessary before pouring it into small shot glasses, teacups or bowls. Drizzle with a little of your best olive oil and a scattering of diced vegetables.

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