7.7.12

Salmorejo

It's been so hot on Milan these days! And to be honest, I don't hate it, I mean, yes it's bad to jump on the subway and get all those funny (bad) smells and the sensation that the asphalt is melting under your heels is not a pretty one but, I'm a summer person, and I love summer clothes and sun and bright light so I can get past all those things to have a sunny warm summer.
And I happen to know a great dish to make a hot summer day a bit more bearable, it's called Salmorejo, it's a cold soup and it comes from Spain, Andalucia, to be more specific. It's like the more famous Gazpacho but it's lighter since it has less vegetables in it (gazpacho contains also cucumber, peppers and onion). And since salmorejo is thicker (due to the bread in it) it can also be used as a sauce.
It has a very antique tradition, and actually a nice story for us Hispanic-Mexicans because, even if it is a 100% Spanish dish, it has a bit of Mexico in its history. I'll tell you why: salmorejo was prepared in Spain since ancient times by mincing bread and mixing it with vinegar, but it was a white 'dish', since tomatoes didn't exist in Europe. It was after the discovery and Conquest of America that they were brought to Spain. Among the conquerors, there was an eyewitness called Bernal Diaz del Castillo who later wrote all about their trip and their findings in the New World, and he described that the natives used tomatoes to prepare a sauce that was similar to their 'white salmorejo'. So, after they brought the this vegetable with them, tomatoes were accepted widely in Spanish kitchen and also introduced to the salmorejo. Here's the way I prepare it:

Salmorejo

Ingredients (serves 4):


6 very red tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled
about 80 gr. of white bread from the day before
2 tablespoons of vinegar
olive oil
salt
To garnish:
1 hard-boiled egg
4 tablespoons of diced Serrano (or Iberian) ham

Soak the bread in water for about 10-15 minutes, take it out and squeeze it. Remove the skins (I normally leave the skins of 1 or 2 tomatoes), the seeds and the cores of the tomatoes and cut them in pieces. In a blender, mix the tomatoes, the vinegar, the garlic and the bread until you get a smooth cream. Add some olive oil and salt and mix a bit more (if necessary, taste it and keep adding oil, salt or vinegar if you like). Put it in the fridge and let it chill for an hour or two.
Serve in soup bowls and garnish with diced egg and ham.