Gazpacho and Sherry make a great match

Gazpacho and Sherry make a great match… On my recent visit to Jerez temperatures were well over 35˚C. This was fine if I was visiting a producer and tasting Sherry in a the cool surroundings of a bodega – the sandy floors are irrigated more frequently in the summer months to maintain the required humidity level.

I would emerge into blazing sunshine and the hot westerly Poniente wind determined to walk to the next bodega and take in the sights of Jerez. By lunch time – that means 2-3pm in this part of the world – there was only one thing that I wanted: a glass of perfectly chilled gazpacho.

Back in London I don’t make gazpacho very often as all the ingredients need to be in season, especially tomatoes which should be ripe and flavoursome. I also get inspired to make it when we get some really good weather…

 Most gazpacho recipes include white bread but I prefer to leave it out. I also use red peppers rather than green for colour and taste. Try this:

 1kg ripe tomatoes roughly chopped

1 red pepper with seeds and core removed, chopped

¾ cucumber, peeled and sliced

½ medium onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2-3 dessertspoons of Sherry or red wine vinegar

4 dessertspoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Blend the mixture in a liquidiser (in two lots if necessary) and then return it to the bowl. Sieve to achieve a smooth texture. Cover the gazpacho and chill well before serving. Garnish with chopped chives or a couple of leaves of basil if desired. Gazpacho will remain fresh for a few days if kept refrigerated.

 Lighter Sherries –  Finos and Manzanillas -  make an ideal match for gazpacho thanks to their bone dry freshness and  low acidity. Any of the following Sherries, served well chilled, will complement the dish well:

 Manzanillas from coastal Sanlúcar de Barrameda:

 La Gitana, Bodegas Hidalgo-La Guitana

La Goya, Delgado Zuleta

 Finos from Jerez and el Puerto:

 El Maestro Sierra Fino

La Bota de Fino (Bota No 18), Equipo Navazos

La Ina, Lustau

La Panesa Especial Fino, Emilio Hidalgo

Fernando de Castilla Fino Antique

Gutiérrez Colosía Fino

Tio Pepe and Tio Pepe en Rama, González Byass