Source of Recipe
Pensacola has a great sense of its own culinary history. A dish native to Pensacola is gazpachi salad (aka gaspachee salad and gauspachi salad). Local legend, according to Pensacola food historian Wilmer Mitchell, has it that the dish is derived from Spanish and Italian sailors enjoying fresh produce in the form of gazpacho soup, dipping rock-hard sea biscuits into the cold broth to soften them. I consider gazpachi to be a celebration of fresh local produce -- especially tomatoes. The exact recipe varies from family to family, but the basic ingredients follow. Serves 6 as a side dish.
List of Ingredients
2 or 3 large vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
1/4 cup Las Brisas extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 medium sweet green peppers, sliced thin
1 large cucumber, sliced thin
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bottles Russiz Superiore Pinot Grigio
I couldn't find any hardtack in town, so I made my own. You can order it online at www.wikstromsgourmet.com or make a batch with 2 or 3 cups all-purpose flour and a little water. Knead a dough that's elastic but not sticky, roll till it's an inch thick, bake at 400 degrees till it begins to turn brown, remove and let cool, then leave in oven at 200 to 300 degrees until hard.
Cover hardtack with warm water, and then weight it down so all of it softens. Dissolve 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 cup sugar in white vinegar; add sliced cukes. Refrigerate. Pour yourself a glass of Russiz Superiore Pinot Grigio. When hardtack is thoroughly soaked, squeeze out water with a towel. Bust out the sea salt and the pepper mill and season tomato slices. Layer bottom of a 9-inch bowl with tomato and cover with a thin layer of onion. Cover with broken-up hardtack, a layer of mayonnaise, then add green pepper; another layer of onion and tomato. Drizzle with Las Brisas olive oil and splash with balsamic vinegar. Cover with hardtack and repeat layering. Follow with one more layer of hardtack and the last of the tomatoes. Drizzle with oil, splash with balsamic vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, weight with a plate and slide into the fridge. When chilled, call neighbors and ask them to bring barbecued chicken and Nassau grits. Break out more wine, yank the gazpachi out of the fridge, crown with marinated cucumbers, let in the locals and chow down.