A soup that makes you work for those sublime results
As I was standing at my kitchen counter grating two pounds of tomatoes, I started wondering if this was going to be worth it.
Sitting on my deck a few hours later, tasting an icy cold bowl of Salmorejo topped with hard-boiled eggs, I started wondering if I would eat all four servings in one sitting or save some for later.
Yep, some things are worth the effort.
Salmorejo is a classic Spanish soup from the southern city of Cordoba. It's made primarily with tomatoes and bread with a splash of sherry vinegar, a bit of garlic and some olive oil. Served cold, it's like a thicker, creamier gazpacho -- minus any cream.
Honestly, it's a vacation to Spain in a bowl.
The taste is all out of proportion to the few ingredients -- so it's best to opt for quality. I used Spanish olive oil, vine-ripened tomatoes and ciabatta bread. This is one of those dishes you don't want to skimp on, and it will be a perfect use of your homegrown tomatoes later in the season.
The labor of love part of the recipe involved skinning the tomatoes. There are a number of ways to do this -- you can blanch them quickly, drop them in an ice bath and then skin them. (Messy!) You can peel them with a knife. (Madness!) You can even use the fruit and vegetable strainer on your Kitchen Aid mixer. (A hassle for a small job like this.) I opted to cut them in half and grate them using a box grater, discarding the skins.
Once you get this part out of the way, this recipe is super easy. Remove the crust of the bread, cube it, soak it in the tomato sauce for a bit, and then add the sherry, garlic and olive oil while giving it a whirl in the food processor.
While your Salmorejo is chilling in the fridge, fix the toppings by hard boiling a few eggs and chopping up a bit of serrano ham.
Next, pop open a bottle of Verdejo and enjoy. You deserve it after all that hard work.
• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's director of strategic marketing and innovation and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.