Salmorejo – Chilled Tomato Soup

5900Salmorejo is a thick, creamy tomato soup served chilled.  It originates from Cordoba but is enjoyed throughout Andalucia.  I suppose you could say it’s quite similar to gazpacho but in my view it is far tastier and satisfying.  Salmorejo is more like an emulsion with a consitency similar to mayonnaise whereas gazpacho is thinner and served ice-cold.

Originally, salmorejo would have been a way to use up ripe tomatoes that are about to turn and stale bread.  Actually, the more ripe the tomatoes are the better.  The ingredients would have been mashed together in a large pestle and mortar but these days an electric blender is preferred.

The most important factor in this recipe is the quality of the tomatoes.  They must be bright red in colour.  If you come across those insipid orange things peddled in most supermarkets, turn up your nose and walk away in disgust for they are not worthy of your palate.  They lack flavour and nutritional content because the only light of day they will ever see is through the thin plastic shopping bag on your way home from the supermarket.

It’s also a good idea to leave the tomatoes for a few days to get quite soft and really ripe as this will improve the flavour even more.  The bread must also be good quality, not the sliced square stuff that goes mouldy after a few days.  Bread should go stale and should never grow a fur coat.  Fresh bread can be used but if you have stale bread to use up then rehydrate it in a bowl of water for 5 to 10 minutes squeezing out the water when it becomes soft.

The egg and ham garnish is traditional and goes really well with the sweet tomatoes but it’s optional.

Serves 4 as a starter/tapa.

Ingredients

2 lb (900g) Ripe Tomatoes

4 oz (100g) White Bread

4 fl. oz (100ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Small Clove of Garlic

1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar

Salt

Garnish

Serrano Ham

Hard Boiled Egg

Directions

1.  Chop the tomatoes (there’s no need to peel them) and add them to the jug of the blender with the peeled clove of garlic.  Blend until smooth.

2.  With the motor still running, add the bread, vinegar and salt to taste.

3.  Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  The tomatoes and bread will start to turn from red to a pinky orange colour.

4.  Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, pour it into bowls and chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.

5.  Before serving chop the egg, dice the ham and sprinkle over the top.

Tips

  • Garnish with tuna flakes instead of the serrano ham.
  • Season with cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
  • Drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil.
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