This soup recipe is a classic of Andalusian cookery, and originated in the historic town of Cordoba, home of the Mezquita, a gem of Moorish architecture. Salmorejo is often served room temperature or even cold as a perfect antidote to the long, hot summer evenings of Andalusia . The bold flavors of this soup are perfect for Dad on Father’s Day.
4 slices good quality day-old white bread, crusts removed
2 pounds ripe vine-ripened tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced into quarters
4 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
½ cup finest quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup chopped Serrano ham
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
Food processor or food mill
Remove the crusts from the bread slices and soak in enough water to just cover until softened.
Cut a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato and briefly blanch them in boiling water, then remove to an ice bath. The skin should come off easily using this technique.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and place along with the chopped garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Drain the bread, squeezing out any excess water and add to the food processor. Process until smooth and all ingredients have been well incorporated; the resulting paste should be thick and homogenous. Blend in the sherry vinegar and season with salt, processing again.
Once the mixture is homogenous, blend in the olive oil a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
[Chef’s Note: Process the soup in short pulses, and stop to taste as you go before adding more water, vinegar or oil. Marina Diez of Cuisine From Spain notes that “It might be annoying to start and stop so many times but I find that is the only way to get the taste that one likes, which also depends on the acidity of the tomatoes, so the taste might vary each time. It is also important to follow the order, for example water should always be added before the oil.”
This is a base recipe, and can be adjusted to taste by adding chopped hard boiled egg or chopped Serrano ham. You can also change the quality of the soup by first passing it through a food mill, then blending in a little heavy cream. Alternatively, you may add a little water to thin it out, and serve it chilled like a gazpacho. You can also use more or less garlic, to suit your taste, or add more vinegar for a more tart flavor.]
Recipe by Mark Tafoya
Photo by Pat Churchill