Few people are familiar with this derivation of Gazpacho. With late summer tomatoes ripening on the vine, there are few better ways to enjoy them. Salmorejo is nothing more than a thick gazpacho, full-bodied from the addition of more bread and without the companionship of peppers or cucumber. It's simply bread, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Ya está. The oil emulsifies the ingredients, suspending the bits of bread and tomato meat into a velvety cold soup, and the vinegar, garlic and salt jump forward in refreshment. It's absolutely brilliant on a warm day.
Salmorejo transports me immediately back to Córdoba, Spain. It's a common dish there and each family has their own version. My friend's mom makes one of the best renditions I've ever tasted and I've attempted to recreate hers by memory so that I can share it with you. I customarily top it with La Quercia's divine Prosciutto and some hard-boiled egg. Considering tomatoes grow in just about every region of the United States, this dish is pretty accessible. It may just become one of your favorites too.
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1/2 pound (about 3-4 cups) day-old bread or fresh bread dried in a low oven
1 clove garlic
3/4 cups Good Olive Oil
2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt to taste
Prosciutto and a hard-boiled egg to accompany
Soak the stale bread in cold water in a bowl.
Peel & deseed tomatoes, electing one of two techniques:
1. Put water to boil in a large enough pot to hold the tomatoes. As water comes to a boil, prepare a cold water bath, combining cold water & ice in a bowl. Have a colander at the ready. Make an 'x' with a sharp knife on the end opposite the tomato stems and dunk your tomatoes into the boiling water, only long enough to loosen the skins (about 1-2 min.). Then, quickly plunge them into your cold water bath. Slip off the skins, and break the tomatoes open to also remove the seeds with your fingers. Put into the bowl of a food processor.
2. Put tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to liquify, then strain this through a food mill. Return liquified tomatoes to the (rinsed) bowl of your food processor.
Lightly squeeze water from bread and add to your food processor. Add garlic and a hearty pinch of salt. Pulse to purée, adding olive oil in a stream through the feed tube. Add a tablespoon of vinegar at a time, stopping to taste. Add additional salt to taste.
Serve in a bowl, with torn/cut Jamon Serrano or Prosciutto atop. Chop or push a hard boiled egg through a sieve and add that too.