When traveling through Andalucia you cannot help but find the cool refreshing dish known all over the world as the soup you eat cold; gazpacho. Although it originates from the southern parts of Spain, it is consumed all over the Iberian peninsula on the stinky hot days of July and August. Last summer whilst living in Barcelona, I became obsessed with keeping a jug of gazpacho in the fridge, liquid coolness on tap. It was life giving on the hot humid summer nights, when you cannot eat much but crave light, cold things to revive you. I began to buy cucumbers in half dozens, and the mint was never around long enough to go bad in the back of the fridge. I officially mark the start of summer food traditions by the arrival of a large jug of this liquid air-conditioning in my fridge.
I love a tomato based, classic gazpacho or even a strawberry variation, a popular summery version in Catalonia where we live. But this recipe is for the ultimate cooling concoction: with cucumber. It is also bread free, I find the addition of bread too much when you want something light, and then you can drink as much of it as you like (also gluten free bread in gazpacho is yuck.) This makes enough for two serves, just double or triple it depending on the size of your blender jug for a big batch that will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.
1 cucumber, peeled
1 cup chopped white melon (or rockmelon if you can't find it in your corner of the world)
1 handful baby spinach
1 handful mint leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
Slug extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Place everything in blender for 2 minutes until smooth, add more oil if it is too watery, should be creamy in consistency, with a little foam on top.
Scoop off extra foam if you want. Top with sliced Japanese cucumbers, (I quick pickled them in mirin for an hour) and more fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Serve icy cold, even in frozen glasses if you are sweltering in the Andalusian summer heat.