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Please Don't Put Onions or Shallots In Your Gazpacho

t
theamusedbouche Apr 30, 2012 12:17 PM

A friend recently gave me a recipe for Gazpacho that had raw onion in it. I can't have onions because they give me migraines (sad, I know) so I swapped it out with shallots as those don't bother me. Unfortunately, the raw shallots gave the soup a really bitter flavor and now I feel I've wasted some expensive tomatoes and good quality olive oil :(
If anyone has any suggestions as to how remove or mitigate the bitterness, I'd greatly appreciate it.

  1. l
    libstewart Oct 17, 2012 02:24 PM

    I have used both onions - sweet and red - and shallots in my gazpacho and have never had a problem. Are you peeling your cucumbers?

    1. d
      ddsupreme Oct 12, 2012 12:36 PM

      i suspect your problem is that you chop the shallots and then put them straight in.

      after making the French Laundry salmon cones, and their being foul with an acrid taste from the shallots, i realised that you have to let chopped alliums rest in isolation if you intend to use them raw. as chopped shallots are probably part of the mise en place in a lot of professional kitchens, it's rarely something that a professional chef worries about when writing a book for a home chef, but the harsh volatile chemicals deliberately produced by alliums on trauma need time to react with water. if you immediately introduce oil or any other fat some will be incorporated in the hydrophobic medium and will not be able to react with water and hence mellow.

      1. k
        KSlink May 2, 2012 08:53 AM

        I don't know if this will help you or not (about the onions) but I have been making gazpacho with roasted/grilled vegetables for years now.....YUM!!!

        1. g
          gilintx May 2, 2012 08:40 AM

          My wife is also prone to migraines from raw onion. Her solution is to soak the (diced) onions in water before using them. That takes enough of the bite out of them to not affect her. As for your gazpacho, you might give it a little time to mellow before giving up completely. The acid in the tomato should take a little bite ouf of the shallot.

          1. chefj May 1, 2012 10:51 AM

            The most likely culprit is that you are using extra-virgin olive oil and blending at high speed.
            Here is what CI says about it:
            "extra-virgin olive oil contains a high percentage of molecular compounds called polyphenols (thought to be cancer-fighters), which are normally coated in fatty acids. Under standard conditions, the fatty acids in the oil prevent polyphenols from dispersing in an aqueous environment. This is because oil and water do not mix.

            When these fat molecules are broken into droplets in an emulsion, however, the polyphenols are distributed into the solution and their bitter taste can become apparent. When the emulsion is only lightly blended, the bitterness is not perceptible. But a blender or food processor breaks the droplets down into smaller sizes, increasing polyphenol dispersal. These suspended polyphenols can ruin an otherwise delicious recipe.

            6 Replies
            1. re: chefj
              chefj May 1, 2012 10:53 AM

              Forgot the close quote "

              1. re: chefj
                m
                Madrid May 1, 2012 12:02 PM

                never thought of this, thanks. Hasn't happened to me because I can't afford much of the really good stuff and and when I do use it, it's as a garnish/dribble right before eating.

                1. re: Madrid
                  chefj May 1, 2012 03:49 PM

                  Years ago I ruined a large batch a Hummus by adding Puget Extra Virgin Olive Oil while pureeing. I can still see the scowl on my Chef's face.

                  1. re: chefj
                    iL Divo May 1, 2012 04:18 PM

                    I got lucky using IG's recipe for hummus 2 weeks ago when I did that tuna/hummus/radish sandwich. I tweaked it a bit of course because I can't leave anything well enough alone, this time got lucky, such goooooood hummus.

                    sorry I can't help with the gazpacho, that's a shame though, love me a good gazpacho.
                    so refreshing.

                2. re: chefj
                  alkapal May 2, 2012 02:36 AM

                  wow -- great info, chef j!!!

                  1. re: chefj
                    k
                    KSlink May 2, 2012 08:56 AM

                    chefj, thank you for explaining this--no chef I've ever worked with has been able to do it!!

                  2. alkapal Apr 30, 2012 02:07 PM

                    add some sugar….little by little

                    also, let the gazpacho mellow a bit….

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: alkapal
                      melpy May 1, 2012 11:00 AM

                      It should mellow in flavor as it sits. Cold water is an ingredient in mine as well as bread. Perhaps more bread? A lesson fruiting olive oil may mellow out the tart.

                    2. twyst Apr 30, 2012 01:27 PM

                      "Please Don't Put Onions or Shallots In Your Gazpacho"

                      Sorry, going to keep on putting onions in mine, just like its been made for hundreds of years......

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: twyst
                        q
                        Querencia May 1, 2012 05:37 PM

                        That's what I was thinking. I put a green pepper, a cucumber, an onion, and four large peeled tomatoes through the Cuisinart coarsely, add this to a 46-oz can of tomato juice, season with garlic, salt, comino, and a bit of hot pepper, and vinegar and olive oil. Can't imagine it without the onion. I'm confident that "for hundreds of years" a more legit version than mine has been made, I remember something about soaking bread, but mine is VERY low-cal since two tablespoons of olive oil get spread out in about half a gallon of gazpacho. Lovely to have in the refrigerator all week during a heat wave.

                        1. re: twyst
                          Aravisea May 2, 2012 07:30 AM

                          Agree...my two favorite gazpacho recipes (from CI and Keller's French Laundry cookbook) both call for a good amount of onion and both are delicious. Especially the latter with balsamic glaze. Yum.

                          1. re: Aravisea
                            s
                            Sharuf May 2, 2012 08:53 AM

                            A -- Could you give us a (paraphrased) version of Keller's recipe? Or a website pointer to it? Tnx.

                            1. re: Sharuf
                              Aravisea Oct 17, 2012 01:59 PM

                              Sharuf - Sorry for the late reply. This site has the recipe - http://www.squidoo.com/thomaskeller. Super easy and delicious, although the sitting overnight is important so you have to plan ahead somewhat.

                        2. m
                          Madrid Apr 30, 2012 01:18 PM

                          I'm sorry I can't help beyond suggesting adding some pureed roasted sweet red peppers and hope the sugar in them would help. Let it sit a bit and chill (the soup, not you!) and maybe even add a tad of actual sugar.

                          are the shallots already pureed? if not, you can try to strain them out and that might help a bit although they've already imparted their bitterness.

                          this will sound strange and I have no idea if it will help, but try taking a bit of it and adding some sherry or red wine vinegar and see if that helps. Another idea from the original pre tomato gazpacho time: gently toast some almonds (if they don't bring on migraines), puree them and try a bit of that.

                          I personally have switched away entirely from all the raw ingredient gazpacho recipes. Roasting everything....the garlic, the onion or shallot, red peppers, and yes, the tomatoes themselves, pureeing that and then using some raw green peppers and cherry tomatoes and raw red onion for those who can do it as add your own garnish is the way I go.

                          good luck! I realize everything I'm suggesting is taking you far away from your original recipe. I don't know where you live but I will have to wait until first week of August to gazpacho.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Madrid
                            t
                            theamusedbouche May 1, 2012 10:43 AM

                            Hi Madrid, roasting is a great idea - I will try that next time. I live in DC and there were some good looking tomatoes at the farmer's market so I went for it. I will try roasting some veggies and adding that in to - I bet it will cut the bitter :)

                            1. re: theamusedbouche
                              prima May 2, 2012 09:48 AM

                              Maybe try simmering or roasting your currently bitter gazpacho, then cool and rechill, to see if the shallot taste becomes subdued if it's cooked?
                              Agree a little sugar and some sherry vinegar (or white balsamic- which is slightly sweet) could also help.

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