Canned fish and tomatoes are a match made in heaven in this refreshing gazpacho parlour | Gmx Pharm

It’s always been a little easier for me to come up with “cold-weather meals” when it’s time to use up pantry staples. Whisk together pasta and chickpeas for a cozy pasta e ceci. Coconut milk and rice are the building blocks for a decadent cinnamon-infused rice pudding. And I’ve never met a stack of nonperishable ingredients that I couldn’t use to at least start a hearty stew.

Up until this week, I was increasingly at a loss when I wanted to “shop my closets” for dinner, but amid a series of small heatwaves, nothing sounded delicious. For the past week, the Salon Food team has been celebrating the summer tomato season by publishing a variety of recipes, guides and guides.

Reading Joy Saha’s comprehensive guide to summer tomatoes, which included a recipe for Spanish salmorejo, I realized that gazpacho was the answer to my summer pantry woes. Like salmorejo, gazpacho is a cool summer soup made by blending a variety of vegetables with oil until the mixture becomes smooth and decadent. Where salmorejo keeps it simple by only using tomatoes and garlic, there’s more flexibility with gazpacho.

Traditionally, gazpacho consists of tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and garlic – spiked with a little sherry vinegar and lots of good olive oil. Checking my pantry, I was pleased to find a large can of diced tomatoes, a tub of roasted red peppers, and plenty of oil and vinegar.

Just as I was about to close the cupboards, a pretty tin of anchovies caught my eye.

Earlier this summer, I was challenged by Dan Waber of the Rainbow Tomatoes Garden in Pennsylvania to try canned fish and tomatoes. Waber’s Rainbow Tomatoes Garden is a farm stall selling 80 different varieties of tomatoes as well as the largest selection of canned fish in the world.

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Waber and I were emailing about a project when I asked him how he got famous for this combination. He said it was a matter of personal taste: “I thought, ‘I don’t know if anyone would want to buy canned fish from a farm stand, but ventresca (the belly of the tuna) is traditionally served with tomatoes — and a mackerel lettuce tomato Sandwich is damn good – so let’s see.’”

If you’ve never cooked with anchovies, they’re something of a secret ingredient.

He started by placing an order for a few different types of ventresca and mackerel, one box each, which sold out on the first day. That was obviously a proof of concept for Waber’s business, but it’s also proof of how well canned fish and tomatoes go together. So why not try gazpacho with a little anchovy infusion?

If you’ve never cooked with anchovies, they’re something of a secret ingredient. When they hit hot oil, they sizzle until completely dissolved, adding a salty, savory kick to the oil that doesn’t taste fishy at all. You can use this oil to spice up stewed meats, pasta sauces and roasted vegetables. Basically anywhere you use oil but also want a flavor boost.

This is also the case with this gazpacho. The anchovy oil—combined with the juicy tomatoes, refreshing cucumber, and tangy onion and garlic—adds a subtle flavor to the chilled soup that makes it all the better to soak up with crusty bread.

Canned fish and tomato gazpacho

cooking time

10 minutes plus cooling time


  • 28 ounces canned, diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounces roasted peppers
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1-3 anchovies
  • Crusty Bread


  1. In a large blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, roasted red peppers, onion, cucumber and garlic. Blend until incredibly smooth, about 90 seconds. Put aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil until it begins to simmer and quickly add anchovies, if desired. (The anchovies lose their “fishiness,” so it’s really a question of how strong the umami-salt flavor they impart to the oil.) Once the anchovies have dissolved, remove the oil from the heat and leave cool it down to room temperature.
  3. With the engine running, add the oil to the vegetable mixture in a steady stream. It should be creamy in consistency and bright in color. Once thick and completely smooth, add the sherry vinegar and give it one last flash to combine.
  4. Next, take the mixture out of the blender and pour it into a sealable container. (I like those big glasses.)
  5. Let the gazpacho cool for at least 4 hours (it will keep in the fridge for about a week). Serve with a little olive oil and plenty of crusty bread.

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