Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mexican Gazpacho with Lime-Cilantro Shrimp

In the middle of a summer heat wave, cold, colorful, and flavorful food can be the antidote to lethargy. Gazpacho is the epitome of cold, colorful, and flavorful. It also has a rich history. Originating in Andalusia during the Middle Ages, gazpacho was a pulverized pulp of garlic, almonds, bread, olive oil and vinegar. Tomatoes and peppers were not added to the mix until after Columbus. Regional varieties of gazpacho abound, some with a bread base, others without. Often called a ‘liquid salad,’ the now standard tomato-garlic-bell pepper-cucumber base is quite forgiving. So I attempted some Tex-Mex fusion. Cilantro (aka coriander), cumin, ground chili powder, and jalapenos are quintessential Mexican flavors; combined, they serve as a sturdy platform for most salsas and sauces. Stir in a few drops of Tabasco, or my Texas favorite—‘Kick Ass Hot Sauce’ made from habanero and serrano peppers—and you’ve got a bit of extra ferocity. The challenge then, was to balance the simplicity of freshly pureed vegetables with the boisterous Mexican spice. Integrating lemon and lime juice plus a dab of honey yielded equilibrium. To turn a light soup into a more substantial meal, I garnished with fresh avocado, Manchego cheese cubes, fried tortilla strips, and lime-cilantro shrimp. The result, according to my dinner companion, was ‘pure summer.’

Mexican Gazpacho
44 ounces of V8 juice
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
A fistful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
21/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Mexican chili pepper
½ teaspoon of Mexican paprika
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried whole basil
11/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Tabasco or ‘Kick Ass Hot Sauce’ a few shakes to taste

  1. I know the ingredient list is long, but the directions are fairly simple. Chop up all the veggies, coarsely, and place into a large bowl.
  2. If you’re like me and didn’t know how to peel a tomato, drop it in boiling water for about 30 seconds until the skin disintegrates. To de-seed a cucumber, cut it in half, and with a spoon remove the inside layer of seeds.
  3. Add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon and lime juices, spices, honey, and hot sauce.
  4. Pour some of the vegetable mixture and chilled V8 juice into the blender. Pulverize, do not fully blend.
  5. Repeat until all of the vegetable mixture and juice has been used.
  6. Refrigerate in an airtight for at least four hours before serving.
Lime-Cilantro Shrimp

About a pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
A lime
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons of cilantro
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of chili powder
¼ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ teaspoon of cumin


  1. Heat a skillet with butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  3. Add the shrimp, juice of one lime, and spice mix.
  4. Cook both sides until browned.
  5. Add the fresh cilantro
Other Gazpacho Garnishes
  • Corn tortilla, cut into strips, and fried in a bit of butter with dashes of chili and onion powder
  • Manchego cheese, shredded or diced in small cubes
  • Fresh avocado, cubed


Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

Susan Graham said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.