It’s August and it’s hot in Los Angeles. Is it hot where you are too? Well, when it’s hot outside it’s time to consider a few changes to your culinary habits. In other words: cold soup. Gazpacho is cold soup but it’s not the only ripe tomato chilled Spanish soup in my blender this summer. Andalusian Tomato and Bread Soup, known in Spain as Salmorejo, is another cold soup you just might like to give a whirl.
It may remind you of gazpacho. It calls for tomatoes, day-old bread, garlic, olive oil, and a splash of sherry vinegar. However, where gazpacho is like a blended salad, Salmorejo is overall heartier and more like a pureed meal. A simple meal that’s made for hot summer days.
As in any dish of such simplicity, much depends on the quality of the ingredients. Salmorejo should only be made with perfectly red and ripe summer tomatoes. The bread should be a simple, rustic white loaf that’s at least a day past perfect. The garlic must be good and sticky. Because one or two cloves is all it takes. The olive oil should be good, green, and delicious.
Salmorejo makes a great starter for an al fresco evening of dining most anytime. But when the heat is high Salmorejo really shines as a casual meal all on its own. Because summer soups have a whole psychology about them that must be considered when choosing how to prepare one. One of these considerations is the balance of flavor. So taste before you chill this soup then again once its cold. I find cold food often needs to be amplified. I don’t know why, but salt and acid seem to recede once chilled. So trust me – check the salt and vinegar seasoning just before serving. You want it just right. Because when it’s hot outside a bit of acid on the tongue tricks the brain into thinking it’s cooler than it really is. GREG
2 poundripe red tomatoes(stems removed, chopped, and juice retained)
2 teaspoonsherry vinegar
½ teaspoonkosher salt(or to taste)
7 ouncestale white bread(crusts are fine)
1 cupwater(or more as needed)
2/3 cup(plus 1 tablespoon) extra-virgin olive oil(plus more for serving)
4–6 large eggs(one per serving)
4–6 slicecured Spanish jamon or prosciutto(one per serving)
Place chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, sherry vinegar, garlic, and salt in the pitcher of a large high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Tear bread into 1‑inch chunks and place them into a large bowl. Sprinkle water over the bread and use your hands to get the bread nice and evenly damp. The staler the bread, the more water and time you’ll need for it to soak in. Use your judgment.
Blend the wet bread with the tomato mixture until perfectly smooth. Adjust with a little water only if necessary. You’re going for the texture of a smoothie.
While the blender is running, drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and blend until the mixture turns from bright-red to orange-red.Taste for salt and vinegar then chill in the refrigerator.
Shortly before serving, gently lower the eggs into a pan of boiling water and cook for nine minutes. Drain and cover with cold water. Once cool peel and roughly chop the eggs. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Add two slices of jamon or prosciutto side by side and fry for about 30 seconds on each side until crisp and lightly golden. Move to a paper towel to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining jamon or prosciutto. Once cool crumble into jagged pieces.
To serve check the seasoning and adjust salt and vinegar if necessary. Then pour the soup into chilled bowls and garnish with the chopped egg and crisp jamon or prosciutto. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve immediately.
I like the protein that you added to this soup. We have dry farmed tomatoes here in Santa Cruz and they are delicious. I will make this soup with them.
G, you always have the most interesting ideas!
this is one potential soup to try
can we replace eggs with cottage cheese or tofu?