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Salmorejo

Serves 4 to 6; makes about 4 cups

 

In Baena, the summer soup called salmorejo is king! It's a smooth, thick, almost foamy cold tomato soup, a variation on gazpacho with a small amount of water and far fewer vegetables, heightened by the taste of a quality extra virgin olive oil and a shock of fine sherry wine vinegar. Salmorejo has become so popular you now find it served throughout Spain. The following recipe is from the American chef Richard Stephens, chef-owner of the restaurant La Gamella in Madrid. He follows the cardinal rule of the dish: the tomatoes must not only be ripe, they must also be aromatic; and the soup must be left overnight to rest so the flavor will properly develop.

This rich, salmon-pink soup is garnished with ribbons of serrano ham and cubed whites of hard-cooked eggs, creating a stunningly beautiful visual contrast.

2 pounds red ripe, meaty, and juicy tomatoes
3 cups cubed stale crustless bread
1 large garlic clove
Coarse salt
Pinch of sugar
1/3 cup cubed green or red bell pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons aged sherry wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup thinly slivered cured ham, preferably Spanish serrano ham
2 hard-cooked egg whites, finely diced

1. One at a time, pierce the stem end of a tomato with a long fork and hold over a high flame to char all over until the skin blisters, or sear in a dry cast-iron skillet. Cool, then peel. Cut a slice off the top of each tomato, scoop out the watery seeds, and strain over a bowl to collect the juices. Discard the seeds. Cut up the tomatoes.

2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the bread and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

3. Crush the garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Add to the tomatoes and bread along with the sugar and bell pepper. purée the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. If necessary, add a little water. The soup must be very thick and smooth. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a steady stream to form a very thick soup, the consistency of yogurt. Add the vinegar. Whirl the soup on the highest setting until it becomes foamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture back into the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

4. To serve, thin with ice-cold water to a thick creamy soup. Correct the seasoning. Ladle into small soup bowls and garnish with the ham and egg whites. Serve cold.

 

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from:
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Recipes for the Passionate Cook
by Paula Wolfert
John Wiley & Sons
368 pages, US $34.95, Cloth
ISBN: 0471-26288-9
Recipe reprinted by permission

 

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

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This page created January 2004


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