What’s Cooking

Gazpacho. Apparently it started life somewhere in the Mediterranean as a soup of blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic, with some liquid like water or vinegar pounded together in a mortar. Over time other things were added as they were to hand or had been brought in from newly discovered worlds. It was quick, easy, cheap, nutritious and cool comfort on a hot day. And of course this time of year is ubiquitous on restaurant and bistro menus.

Though I enjoy a bowl brimming with chopped vegetables tasting of the sun that tomatoes bring to everything I find Salmorejo, the Northern Andalusian version, far more satisfying. Perhaps because it is essentially tomatoes and I love tomatoes. It also involves fewer ingredients (unless you go for the full meal deal which I do) and less prep time.

Tomatoes, bread, garlic, sherry vinegar and an immersion blender – that’s pretty much it.*

Juan with a bowl of Salmorejo at La Parrala in Grenada in 2014.

Salmorejo (Andalusian Tomato and Bread Soup)
– serves 4
From Milk Street TV – Christopher Kimball
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored
2 1/2 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more to serve
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 thin slices of prosciutto (about 2 ounces), torn into pieces
3 or 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced or quartered
finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Crusty bread, for serving

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, bread, bell pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and no bits of tomato skins remain, about 1 minute.
With the blender running, gradually add 3/4 cup olive oil.
Transfer to a large bowl then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.

While the soup chills, make the hard-cooked eggs. Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, drain. Place eggs in an ice bath. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter or slice. Set aside.

While the eggs cool, place a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and let cool completely, then roughly chop; set aside.

Taste the soup and season again with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into (preferably chilled) bowls. Top with the prosciutto, hard-cooked egg and chopped parsley or cilantro. Drizzle with additional oil and vinegar, as desired.

*Kimball adds that half red pepper which does add a little brightness to the dish.

That addition of ham and egg though not necessary can help turn it into a full meal. Along with a green salad and crusty bread it’s perfect on a hot summer day.

The word for August 4th is:
Soup /so͞op/: [noun]
1. A liquid dish, typically made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables, etc., in stock or water.
2. A substance or mixture perceived to resemble soup in appearance or consistency,
Middle English: from Old French soupe ‘sop, broth (poured on slices of bread)’, from late Latin suppa, of Germanic origin.

Author: Willym

A senior with the heart of a young'un

5 thoughts on “What’s Cooking”

  1. Thanks Willym for the wonderful recipe. Anything that is good requires work.

  2. Oh no! I hope Dr Spo does not see this recipe.

    Also, it STILL doesn’t appear to be tomato season here. What’s going on?

    1. We discussed me making this recipe, but Someone doesn’t like soup/bread in soup nor eggs.
      Next time I do this version, screw’em.

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