Gazpacho — Mexican-Style

Gaspacho -- done as a sweet, tangy, subtly spicy fruit salad instead.
Gaspacho — done as a sweet, tangy, subtly spicy fruit salad instead.

Rick Martinez says his mouth starts to water just thinking about this refreshing dish.

It’s easy to understand why, because his “Gaspacho Moreliano” is the antidote to the torrid heat of summer.

It’s quenching and cooling like Spanish gazpacho, but this Mexican version is far more substantial because it’s not a soup, but a sweet-tangy-spicy-savory fruit salad.

The recipe is from Martinez’s first cookbook, “Mi Cocina” (Penguin Random House), of which I received a review copy.

The host of the YouTube series, “Pruebalo,” and a contributor to Bon Appetit magazine and the New York Times, Martinez, he grew up in a small town outside of Austin, TX, where he was the first child of Mexican heritage to attend that then all-white elementary school.

It was his late mother who inspired his passion for cooking. Even though her own mother and aunties had passed away already, his mom decided to start anew the tradition of making tamales for the holidays, figuring out the exact recipe along the way through trial and error on her own. She hoped the practice would be passed down to her sons. For Martinez, it ignited a deep, unwavering love for his heritage, culture, and family.

In his debut book, he takes you through the various regions of Mexico, and recreates specialties that captivated him most, including “Morisqueta Michoacana (Slow-Cooked Pork with Roasted Tomatoes and Guajillos),” “Ceviche de Carmaron y Leche de Coco (Raw Shrimp and Watermelon with Coconut Milk and Lime Juice),” “Pipian Rojo estilo Jalisco (Pumpkin Seed, Peanut, and Sesame Seed Sauce Served Over Roasted Chicken),” and “Cafe de Olla (Coffee with Vanilla-Cardamom Spiced Syrup).”

This gaspacho couldn’t be easier to make. Just cut up pineapple, mango, onion, and jicama. Although the recipe called for chopped white onion, I opted for slivers of red onion instead, so I added that option in the recipe.

For whatever reason, whole jicama is not easy to find in grocery stores these days. But then again, given their hefty size, a whole one may be more than you really want. Instead, scan the tubs of cut-up fruit and veggies in the refrigerator case of your market, and you’ll likely find a container of jicama batons like I did at Sprouts.

The jicama and fruit get gently tossed in a zesty dressing of olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, chili flakes, and grated garlic.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves, a sprinkle of Tajin (or smoked paprika as a substitute), and plenty of crumbled Cotija, which gives the whole dish a wonderful salty richness.

With mango, jicama, pineapple, and so much more, it's great as a side to most anything.
With mango, jicama, pineapple, and so much more, it’s great as a side to most anything.

Serve as a side to grilled fish, shrimp, steak, or pork. Or as part of Taco Tuesday night.

I enjoyed it alongside grilled salmon for dinner. And the next day, I ate a big bowl solo for lunch. Because this gaspacho is just that satisfying.

Gaspacho Moreliano

(Serves 4 to 6)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 garlic clove, finely grated

1 chile de arbol, stemmed and finely chopped, OR 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt

1 large Tommy Atkins mango, OR 2 Ataulfo or champagne mangoes, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

1/4 medium pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 large jicama, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 medium white or red onion, chopped or thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

For serving:

Crumbled queso Cotija

Tajin

Lime wedges

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, chile de arbol, and salt until the salt has dissolved.

In a large bowl, gingerly toss the mango, pineapple, jicama, onion, mint, and half of the dressing. Let sit for 5 minutes to let flavors come together.

Serve with any additional dressing drizzled over and top with the Cotija, Tajin, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Adapted from “Mi Cocina” by Rick Martinez

More Mango Recipes to Enjoy: Sweet, Spicy and Savory Asian Mango Salad

And: Juicy Mango-Raspberry Crumble Tart

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