Monday, December 28, 2015

Make Your Summer Radical With Salmorejo

It may be winter for you Northerners, but here in Mexico, tomatoes are at peak ripeness and in our town of San Miguel de Allende, great local olive oil and fantastic fresh sourdough are in strong supply. That means one thing: salmorejo! Salmorejo is a chilled tomato puree that originates from the south of Spain that is similar to gazpacho, but is thicker and more rustic so it can be eaten either as a dip or as a soup. It's amazing on a hot summer (or Mexican winter) afternoon!

I know it's obnoxious when food bloggers or TV chefs pine on about how important it is for you to use highest-quality ingredients. I know it sounds obnoxious--if not downright impractical--for you, dear reader, to blow half a paycheck at Whole Foods springing for all the top-shelf dinner ingredients. But because salmorejo is such a simple dish, if you skimp, it'll be very noticeable in the final product. So for this reason, I have to be obnoxious and implore you to use only use top-quality tomatoes (ideally from your garden or the farmers’ market), olive oil (extra virgin, cold-pressed), and bread (good European-style bread, no shitty sandwich bread!). Using top-quality ingredients will make all the difference for this puree.

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. Since the consistency is almost more like a dip, you can dunk your bread or other accompaniments in it as you eat.

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
For dipping: hard cheese, crostini, hard-boiled eggs, Proscuiutto or Serrano ham, etc. 

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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