A simple and “creamy” rendition of gazpacho, salmorejo is in my experience a glimpse of traditional Spanish cuisine perfect for the country’s climate. In the scorching summer months, during the afternoons of which not even the locals venture outside, this cold soup is enjoyed morning, noon and night – as a refreshing start to the day, or light evening starter.
Being a simple dish, salmorejo demands good quality ingredients. Two ingredients define salmorejo; tomatoes and olive oil – do not skimp on either. Indeed, it’s difficult to exaggerate this recipe’s need for good quality tomatoes – make sure you sniff them before buying!
Whether a tomato is good or not has very little to do with colour – if it lacks a strong, fresh scent it is not worth your money. Remember, the skin of a tomato is as vital to its flavour as that flesh that it holds prisoner; when sliced, the skin of a tomato reacts in some way with its flesh, developing flavour. If the skin of a tomato isn’t up to scratch, you can be sure the flesh within will be insipid.
This soup is best enjoyed on an extremely hot day, served on the closest available outdoor table/lap alongside an ice cold pint of cerveza. Mahou would do the job nicely… if you can find it!
• 4-5 large tomatoes (500g)
• 100g stale white bread
• 1 clove of garlic
• 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• A little cucumber, finely cubed
1. Slice a cross into the bottom of each tomato and place in a bowl of very hot water. After 2 minutes transfer the fruit to a bowl of ice cold water and remove the skin. Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing their ‘cores’ in the process.
2. Place the fruit in a food processor and quickly pulse for 5-10 seconds. Add the bread and leave to soak for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until completely smooth. Serve in a bowl with a little sliced cucumber or boiled egg on top.
Cost: At this time of year the price of tomatoes tends to drop as the fruit comes into season. And while this dish uses good quality olive oil, it’s price is relatively low at around £2 for four servings.
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