Sunday, 27 July 2008

Salmorejo



Now that the Man of Mode has returned to London after his travels, he is craving the flavours of Spain. And there are few better ways to cool off on a hot summer day than with a bowl of salmorejo, the wonderful cold soup from Cordoba.

It's often described as a thicker version of gazpacho, that other tomato-based cold soup from Spain. However, salmorejo is an altogether gutsier dish. You can easily turn it into a complete meal. It's usually served with some slivers of ham and a bit of crumbled hard boiled egg sprinkled on top; with some crusty bread on the side and a glass of cold fino sherry, it makes a fantastic lunch or supper.

The recipe below is pretty forgiving, and it's hard to give exact measurements. The important thing is keep tasting it as you make it, adjusting the consistency and flavour to your own tastes.

8 large tomatoes, seeded (ideally you would skin them too, but that's not really necessary)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Stale bread -- roughly 1/4 of a loaf of Italian bread or similar, with the crust removed
1 or 2 tablespoons of wine or sherry vinegar
2 or 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
Sea salt
Crumbled hard boiled egg and jamon iberico to sprinkle on top

Start by soaking the bread in a little water. Then squeeze the excess water out of the bread, leaving a damp, bready pulp.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, then add the bread, a little at a time, while continuing to puree the mixture. The consistency is very much a matter of personal preference: the bread will quickly thicken up the tomato puree, but don't make it too thick. If you add too much bread and you want to thin it back down, add a splash of cold water.

Mix in the garlic, vinegar and olive oil, and season with the sea salt. Add a little at a time and keep tasting the soup again and again until you're happy with the flavour. Continue pureeing the soup until it's smooth and completely blended.

Chill the finished soup for an hour or so in the fridge. You want it chilled through, but not ice cold. Serve in bowls and sprinkle some slivers of ham and crumbled hard boiled egg on top.

1 comment:

Pigtown-Design said...

Just finished gazpacho for dinner. Julie and I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday (surprise!) and I got all of the ingredients. Made it yesterday, let it sit and age for a day and then dinner tonight after walking Connor. I will have to try your recipe... it looks lots easier.