As we approach the ripe tomato season here in New England, gazpacho shows up more and more in restaurants and home dinner parties. That led me to wonder what the Europeans used before tomatoes were introduced from the New World.
Well, it turns out that there is a tomato-free form of gazpacho in Spain, called ajo blanco, based on almonds, bread, and garlic. It appears to be of Arab origin. Here's the recipe.
Now, while we are at it, what did the Italians use on their pasta before tomatoes arrived? And reaching back, what did they use for a starch before pasta arrived? (No, Marco Polo did not bring noodles to Italy. It appears that the Arabs had something to do with this, too.)