Jose Pizarro’s Seasonal Spanish Food Cookbook and My attempt at Gazpacho.

Jose Pizarro. Photo by Lisa Shapiro

Spanish Chef, José Pizarro visited Washington, DC for the first time on Monday, June 7 to join Chefs José Andrés and María José San Román for the 8th Annual Paella Festival kickoff party at Jaleo in Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Chef Pizarro is the Executive Chef and co-founder of the highly acclaimed tapas group, Brindisa Tapas Kitchens. Pizarro grew up in a small village in Extremadura, Spain. His first head chef job was at El Meson de Dona Filo, a Michelin-starred restaurant near Madrid. Since, he’s cooked at some of London’s best Spanish restaurants such as Gaudi and Eyre Brothers.  His love of fresh seasonal food has inspired his book, Seasonal Spanish Food.

I was very inspired by this book. The recipes are very simple and approachable.  The stories about his family and food memories make you feel like you are looking through a family picture album. Also, I love how the recipes are organized by season, which showcases recipes that features seasonal ingredients. Today I went to Wegman’s to shop for ingredients to create his gazpacho (p. 60).  Jose was very kind to email me after we met at Jaleo so I had his email address.  I emailed him to ask him for clarification about the ingredients. The ingredients list is *very* brief.

The recipe calls for:

  • 2lbs of ripe tomatoes (very ripe plum tomatoes, according to his instructions via email. He said that he does not seed the tomatoes, but I seeded at least half.)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1 TBL sherry vinegar
  • 5 TBLs extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Gazpacho Verde

I was surprised that I was able to find the sherry vinegar, but Wegman’s had it. I followed his *very* brief instructions to add all of the ingredients into a food processor — aiming to make an emulsion; adding the olive oil while the motor is running. My food processor was too small to add all of the tomatoes at once. Also, I wasn’t able to add the oil while the motor was running. I also added 1/2 garlic clove too much! (oops!) It is too garlicky. There is a strong aftertaste. My plan is to make the remainder of the tomatoes tomorrow and add them. I think that should neutralize the garlic. I will let you know how it goes. 🙂

Ok, so I didn’t re-make the gazpacho — instead I turned the page and saw a recipe for Gazpacho Verde. In the book, Pizarro says that this variant of traditional gazpacho using cilantro  is popular in a town called Sierra Morena.

The recipe calls for:

  • large bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves only
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1 small garlic glove
  • 1 cucumber, about 8 in, coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I’m picking up on a theme, here)
  • 3 1/4 cups cold water
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 medium Gem lettuces, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds (in the US we call them slivered)

Paste ~ before water.

The directions are simple. Place the cilantro, bread, garlic, and cucumber in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Then set aside to marinate for 1 hour. Stir in the oil and vinegar, followed by the water. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. The other directions for serving I couldn’t figure out since the gazpacho was so watery. Pizarro said to divide the eggs and lettuce between four bowls and pour in the gazpacho and scatter the slivered almonds on top.

I think it was too thin. Maybe I should have added less water than the recipe called for. I was surprised about how much you could really taste the cucumber. It is a very light and refreshing summer dish. It would be great as a shooter in an espresso cup as a first course.

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2 Responses

  1. We interviewed Jose Pizarro in April, published as Soul of Tapas Brindisa, Jose Pizarro, Talks to Us About his Road from Extremadura to London on ‘Serge the Concierge’.

    We publish weekly interviews, usually on Wednesdays and contests on Fridays, currently ‘win copy of Cook Italy’.

    I will have to check your site more often.

    Hopefully we will have a chance to meet when I visit DC.

    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’

    Facebook: sergetheconcierge
    Twitter: @theconcierge

  2. […] a good watermelon gazpacho recipe. Lisa of Dining in DC heeded the call and delivered a link to a tasty recipe by Chef Jose […]

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