Cordoba my neighbouring province is home, they say, to Salmorejo the thicker cousin of Gazpacho usually made without cucumbers. In my years of living here (25 this year) I´ve sampled a fair few Salmorejos from prize-winning ones to mediocre affairs. Did I say I like it?  In these months of winter cold dishes are rarely on the menu so as I am thinking spring is around the corner and dreaming ´summer´ I thought I´d share happy thoughts and a summer dish.

Having got Gazpacho down to a fine art, I now add extras like red pepper, green pepper and apple (don’t tell the only son who partakes,) I now make a fairly decent Salmorejo too. I am looking forward to this year´s tomato glut as I have a little something extra up my sleeve! I admit I would rather eat than cook, but also I would rather cook than pay to eat boring food or dishes that I can match or better.

 

Up my sleeve (that means copying) is a nice twist that I sampled quite recently (although it wasn´t really that recently because I have taken no trips for quite a while) and that was crispy jamon on top. The usual garnish is chopped up hard boiled egg and bits of jamon – well the sampling of no egg but fried, crispy jamon with the smooth texture of the Salmorejo was just amazing.

 

 

Salmorejo-before-Garnishing

Salmorejo-before-Garnishing

So come on warmer tomato growing weather I am so looking forward to reproducing that. When I started making Salmorejo I tried various Spanish cookery book recipes but I am not very disciplined so basically they turned out the same. Now I just go with the flow. It´s a messy business but make a big lot in one go and it is worth it, even if it doesn´t last double the time!

Salmorejo-Making-a-Mess

Salmorejo-Making-a-Mess

Salmorejo 
Ingredients – for 4

garlic cloves, 2
1kg sweet tomatoes, cut in half
100g white bread, with the crusts removed and roughly broken up
10 tsp virgin olive oil, Spanish of course
2 tbsp sweet red-wine or sherry vinegar
pinch of caster sugar
sea salt and black pepper

To Garnish

1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
3 tbsp serrano jamon, finely chopped

Method

Put the garlic and sea salt into a mortar and crush to form a smooth paste.
Use a food processor and puree the tomatoes and bread until smooth.
Strain through a sieve. Add the garlic to the mixture and add the olive oil slowly. When it is all mixed together pour into a mixing bowl, add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar if needed, this depends on the sweetness of the tomatoes used.
It should be a smooth puree, add a little watet to thin it down to the consistency you want.
Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Transfer into bowls and sprinkle with chopped jamon and egg.

This may be used as a sauce and served with fish or chicken or any fried or battered vegetables, it´s really good with fried aubergines and even better with fried jamon!

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Rachel Webb

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