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Lettuce Gazpacho

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Gazpacho or Cold Soup originates from Spain.  Originally made with stale pieces of Bread, Olive Oil and Garlic pounded together, with water and a little vinegar added to thin down. In the Andalucian Region of Spain, you will mostly find Gazpacho is Tomato based. Out of Spain, Gazpacho is Vegetable or Fruit based broth.

First I did not understand it. Why have soup cold. But when you experience Summer Sun in UK, not days but weeks of wonderful hot weather, I understand why the need for Cold Soup. It really is refreshing.

I grow enough Lettuce to last us the whole Summer. We prefer  loose head varieties, such as, Carnival Lettuce and Rossa Di Trento, so can match up different flavour of lettuce depending on our meals. For a varied change later in the summer, I have also planted out few tight head lettuce seedlings, this year, a variety called Antartica, (similar to a shop bought Iceberg lettuce), so by Mid August we should be enjoying this crisp Lettuce.

For this recipe it is best to use Cos or Romaine variety of Lettuce. My Little Gem are not ready as yet, therefore using my allotment neighbour Pam’s Cosberg Lettuce. She is getting rid of her’s; in her opinion: not crisp enough a variety. They were all destined for the compost bin and I asked her not to. I shall harvest one by one and finish it for her. Perfect I can make and share this recipe even sooner then I had planned.

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Sutton’s F1 Cosberg Lettuce

As the name suggested, cold soup, requires very little cooking time. In this case under 10 minutes and the pan was off the heat. It’s wonderful when you can use all the ingredients from your own garden/allotment, picked and made under 40 minutes, thats because it takes me 20 minutes to walk back home, 10 minutes to prep all the vegetables.

Use less than one teaspoon of oil to saute the shallots in and use a good quality vegetable stock to make the broth. There is a lot of lettuce in this soup, therefore only added a handful of young fresh peas, which again do not require a long cook. You can add a little fresh garlic, but in this recipe added fresh Spearmint leaves 1 minute before taking Pan off the heat, and with a hand blender blitz the contents of the Pan. This Gazpacho is best made the day before, as flavours continue to blend.

Served chilled, with an optional garnish of borage and calendula flowers, or even Nasturtium, to give the soup a peppery kick. I was planning on using them, but my plants are just past their seedling stage, so borage has made an appearance.

Do give this a try. You will be pleasantly surprised, with the wonderful ‘Summer fresh’ taste. Do you make Gazpacho? What are your favourite vegetables to use?

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Lettuce Gazpacho

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Spanish inspired recipe using summer fresh vegetables straight out of the garden.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of Cos or Romaine Lettuce washed and roughly chopped
  • Handful of young fresh Peas
  • 1-2 Shallots roughly diced
  • 600ml of Vegetable stock
  • 6-7 Spearmint Leaves
  • 1tsp Sunflower Oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a Pan, add Oil and saute the Shallots, for less than a minute.
  2. Add the Lettuce, stiring until the lettuce is just about wilted. Quickly add peas and stock.
  3. Bring to Boil, quickly turning it down to gentle simmer for 8 minutes and no more than 10. Add the Mint leaves.
  4. Use a hand held blender and blitz until smooth.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Allow to cool completely before placing in fridge for an overnight chill.
  7. Garnish with edible flower, just before serving.

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