Aside from a year of Spanish classes in high school, all of my knowledge of the Spanish language has come from working in restaurants. I can't carry on a basic conversation, but I can dissect a menu like a champ. The guys who I have worked with over the years taught me the name of every cut of meat and every fruit and vegetable out there, and along the way I learned a few other words, too. There are a few terms that came up over and over again, borracho is a common one.
While thumbing through the cocktail section of Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer's The Barcelona Cookbook, I came across this recipe for gazpacho borracho. Borracho translates to "drunk" in Spanish and gazpacho doesn't really need too much explanation. This cocktail is a bloody Mary taken to the next level—fresh, peppery, tomatoey, with a slight vinegar tang and the coolness of cucumbers. This recipe is for all the savory cocktail enthusiasts out there.
Win 'The Barcelona Cookbook'
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Barcelona Cookbook to give away this week.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons Barcelona Gazpacho (recipe follows) or other tomato-based gazpacho
- Dash of Tabasco sauce
- 1 rib celery or 1 slice cucumber for garnish
- For the soup:
- 3 pounds very ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded, cored, and coarsely chopped
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 day-old round loaf Italian bread, crust removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups tomato juice
- For the garnish:
- 1/4 day-old round loaf Italian bread, crust removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus about 2 tablespoons for drizzling
- 4 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 English cucumber, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Fill an 8-ounce highball glass with ice and sprinkle with pepper.
Pour the gazpacho and vodka into a shaker filled with ice. Add the Tabasco and shake 10 to 12 times. Strain into the glass, garnish with celery or cucumber, and serve.
- serves 4 to 6 -
To make the soup: In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber.
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer very gently for about 15 minutes, or until the garlic is browned and tender. Transfer to the mixing bowl and add the bread cubes.
Stir the ingredients together and then add the vinegar, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Season with black pepper and set aside for about 1 hour to marinate.
Working in batches, blend the marinated vegetable and bread mixture in a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade until pureed. Transfer the puree to a large bowl and continue until it is all pureed. If it is too dry, add a few tablespoons of tomato juice to thin it out to suit your taste.
Strain into another bowl and then stir in the tomato juice. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar if needed. Cover and refrigerate in a container with a thigh-fitting lid for up to three days.
For the garnish: Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Put the bread cubes in a medium bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Toss to mix so that the bread absorbs the olive oil and spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly-roll or similar baking pan and bake for about 4 minutes. Rotate the pan, turn the croutons over, and continue baking for about 4 minutes longer, or until they are golden brown and crisp. When done, let the croutons cool on a baking sheet. These will keep in a tightly lidded container for up to 2 days.
Ladle 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the soup into each chilled soup bowl. Garnish each with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the scallions, peppers, and cucumber. Top with about 2 tablespoons of croutons and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.