Santa Elena Style, 1566, from An Imaginary Spain. (as previously printed in the Charleston City Paper.)

Our Undiscovered Charleston tour guests as well as readers of Charleston’s City Paper have asked for my gazpacho recipe. CCP was kind enough to publish it.

The knifework can take some time but the presentation is awesome, especially if you pour the “V3” broth tableside for a dramatic flair. If you don’t feel like hassling with it, pulse everything down in a food processor- I promise it’s no less delicious and quite a bit faster.

Get your end of summer soup ready with this circa 1566 Santa Elena gazpacho recipe

Forrest Parker This is the recipe chef Forrest Parker uses for the gazpacho he serves on his Undiscovered Charleston tour

For this week’s issue, chef Forrest Parker wrote about the history of gazpacho and its ties to the Lowcountry. Parker, who leads food history tour Undiscovered Charleston, admits that once he becomes intrigued by an idea, he cannot easily let it go. 

Parker writes, “I’ve been thinking … of gazpacho in particular since it got so hot so quickly this year. I was wondering if gazpacho would have been served at the original Santa Elena, and if it was, what it would have looked and tasted like. In food history terms, turns out gazpacho is old. Very old. It predates the Reconquista of Ferdinand and Isabella (hello, Columbus) and goes back as far as the Roman Empire, possibly further.”

RELATED The secret history of gazpacho and its ties to the Lowcountry: A Palmetto Duende

On his tours this summer, Parker served a very specific gazpacho, following a 16th century Santa Elena recipe. The chef did not randomly land on Santa Elena — he is intrigued by the settlement because more than 100 years before the founding of Charlestowne Colony, the Spanish arrived and settled Santa Elena on what is today Parris Island, S.C. Santa Elena was originally intended to be the capital for all of Spanish La Florida and Parker asks, ‘what if they never left?’ What would our culinary scene and history look like?


Pedro Santa Elena

While you ponder this twist of fate, Parker’s shared his gazpacho recipe with us so that you can harvest your end-of-summer garden globes and turn them into a refreshing bowl of cold soup. Check it out:

1566 Santa Elena Gazpacho

Serves Four


2 large tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 sweet pepper

Sherry vinegar


Hot sauce

Sea salt


Spanish smoked paprika 

Marinated hearts of Palmetto

Herbs — parley, chives, basil, or cilantro


1. Cut top and bottom ends of marinated vegetables, reserving trimmings separately

2. Cut a lengthwise slit in tomatoes and pepper, laying them on cutting board. Filet them in a barrel-roll motion. Reserve seeds and pith

3. Peal cucumber and cut the flesh, avoiding the seeds, into quarters lengthwise. Reserve peel and seed core

4. Finely diced vegetables then season with salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and hot sauce. Chill.

5. For the broth, add veggie scraps, two cups of water, several dashes of sherry vinegar, and one tsp. of sea salt to blender. Puree to smoothie consistency. Strain through fine mesh trainer or coffee filter.

6. Serve the marinated vegetables in soup bowl, garnish with marinated hearts of palmetto and pinch of Spanish paprika and herbs.

7. Pour the strained broth table side for dramatic flair.

Related Articles

The secret history of gazpacho and its ties to the Lowcountry

A Palmetto Duende

by Forrest Parker

Aug 28, 2019

Chef Forrest Parker’s Undiscovered Charleston is a delicious walk through history

Redemption and Revival

by Melissa Hayes

Aug 7, 2019

Chef Forrest Parker: Louis Osteen taught me the language of food, these are my favorite flavor memories

From Pimento Cheese to Steak and Onion Rings

by Forrest Parker

May 22, 2019

© 2019 Charleston City Paper

Note: the “V3” broth is an excellent use for what would otherwise be waste & tastes like pure summer! It freezes well and if you toss winter tomatoes with it they’ll taste like summer too (in the middle of winter!)

If you want to know more, reach me via our contact page, or better yet c’mon & take an Undiscovered Charleston tour- lots more (DELICIOUS!) Charleston history to come!

Have a great service- Chef.

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