Saturday, September 29, 2012

Salmorejo: The Hero of Late Summer

It's the end of summer and time to appreciate those last few heirloom tomatoes. Try salmorejo! Salmorejo is a chilled tomato soup that originates from the south of Spain that is similar to gazpacho, but is much simpler. The key to making salmorejo well is to only use top-quality tomatoes (from your garden or the Farmers’ Market only), olive oil (organic, virgin, cold-pressed), and bread (good European-style bread, no Wonder Bread bullshit!). Using top-quality ingredients will make all the difference for this soup.

Typically, this soup is served with slivered Prosciutto or Serrano ham, minced hard-boiled eggs, and crostini. You could also serve it with any high-quality baguette bread and even some good hard cheese—such as Parmesan Reggiano—on the side. The consistency is almost more like a dip than a soup, so you’ll dunk your bread or other accompaniments in it as you eat.

Prep time: a few sips of your late summer cocktail (after the overnight soak) 

1 Kg (2.2 pounds) fresh tomatoes, tops removed and quartered
1 cup olive oil, divided
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 slices bread, chopped up a bit
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp salt

Soak the tomatoes, ½ cup of olive oil, garlic, vinegar and bread overnight in a big bowl.

The next day, blend the bread/tomato mixture and salt in blender or food processor, adding the remaining ½ cup olive oil very slowly as it mixes.

Depending on the consistency you like, you can blend in some water too at this point, but I like to keep it fairly thick, so I don’t add any.

Serve cold with any of the garnishes listed above, or anything else that you think would go well. 

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