Sunday, August 22, 2010

Salmorejo- Cold Andalusian Soup. No, not Gazpacho!

I feel guilty- I lived in Andalucia (Southern Spain) for quite a while and had no idea this soup even existed.  I'm very familiar with Gazpacho, but not Salmorejo.  I was surfing Tastespotting last week and came across a picture of it, and then I went and looked at the recipe.  I was intrigued, so I made it as soon as I could buy some decent tomatoes.  The recipe is simple; combining tomatoes, garlic, bread, and olive oil into a thick, almost creamy, cold soup.  Then, one tops it with a swirl of olive oil, some hard-boiled egg pieces, and Jamon Serrano (or priosciutto).  I don't like eating Jamon Serrano "raw" (I know it's cured), so I sauteed some first in a tiny bit of oil.  That is not necessary, though.

I served this soup in my hand-painted flower bowls from Andalucia.  :)  I only have two left, because the rest have broken during our many moves.  Someday I will go back and get more. 

A note about sherry vinegar: I cannot find any here, unfortunately.  I've never used it, either, but it's similar to Balsamic vinegar.  So instead of the sherry vinegar, I used mostly Balsamic with a splash of Champagne vinegar.  It seemed to work.

from A Little Bit Burnt
Yield: About 5 Cups

About 2 lbs. tomatoes, cut into large chunks
2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
2 roasted piquillo or roasted red peppers, optional
1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
2 cups roughly chopped day old crusty bread or baguette (I left the crusts on but you can remove if you like)
1 – 1/2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar, more to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

1.  In a blender, start with the garlic and onions and finely chop on the mix or chop setting. Add tomatoes, piquillo peppers/roasted red peppers if using, salt and and puree on the same setting. Add the bread, drizzle the olive oil and sherry vinegar over all the bread, and puree for a minute or two until all the bread is blended in. Up the blender speed to blend and run until it's really smooth and creamy.

2.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with sherry vinegar or salt. If it's too acidic depending on your tomatoes, start by adding just a 1/2 tsp. of sugar, mix, taste and adjust again. If you don't have enough of a vinegary tang, add a little more sherry vinegar.

3.  Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors can come together before serving, or overnight is even better. Taste and adjust seasoning again if you need to before serving.

4.  Garnish with sliced jamon serrano or proscuitto, chopped hard boiled egg, a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil, and a few toasted pieces of bread for serving if you like. Or you can omit the jamon to make it vegetarian, or omit the jamon and egg to make it vegan.

A few notes from A Little Bit Burnt - some people like to skin the tomatoes first but I don't think it's necessary, especially because you want this to be pureed very smooth. Also, if you don't have any stale bread, lightly toast some fresh bread so it dries out a little bit but don't let it get browned.
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Linda said...

What a beautiful soup and bowl! Did your fam like it?

What A Dish! said...

My Dh liked it a lot, even more than I did. My daughter kind of liked it, but I think was put off by eating a cold soup. My boys wouldn't even try it (rolling eyes).

lytha said...

i have a wonderful gazpacho recipe from back home using spicy v8 as a base. with the price of avocados and the scarcity of cilantro, i haven't tried to make it here. oh, and, who besides me would eat it?

i'm curious what piquillo or red peppers are - with any pepper or chile in a recipe, i'm not sure what to call it here in germany.