Just about everyone has heard of gazpacho, that Andalucían chilled vegetable soup commonly consumed in the warmer months. A close relative to gazpacho is salmorejo, originating in Córdoba. It’s basically an emulsion of fresh tomatoes, bread and oil where it’s served cold as a soup or even as a dip or sauce. The flavour is earthy and it’s really refreshing as a starter to a more robust spread of dishes.
The recipe I’ve come up with is based on many I found online. I’ve sautéed the onion and garlic instead of using it raw as I’m not a fan of the lingering after-taste, and rather than vinegar and lemon juice, I just used verjuice. Traditionally the soup is garnished with chopped boiled egg and jamon serrano but I’ve decided to finely grate the egg for a more delicate finish. I even put an egg into the soup. The jamon can be chopped and sprinkled over the soup as is but crisping it up in the microwave (or use an oven) adds a nice salty crunch with each spoonful.
This soup is ideal to serve in very small glasses if you’ve got a cocktail party planned. No spoons required. Just a quick shot and your guests are happy!
Dissolve the salt in the tepid water then pour over the torn pieces of bread. Allow to soak for half an hour then squeeze out the liquid, reserving the water.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Cut a cross on the bottom of each tomato, drop into the boiling water and allow to blanch for 20-30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes and quickly refresh them in a bowl of iced water. Remove and discard the skin and core, cut in half, squeeze out and discard the seeds and place the tomato halves into the bowl of a food processor.
Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan and sauté the chopped onions and garlic over low heat until translucent, but not golden. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes and place in the processor with the tomatoes. Add the verjuice and process until very smooth. With the motor still running, gradually add the soaked bread and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved bread water. Finely grate one of the boiled eggs and add it to the food processor, blending well for 30 seconds. With the motor still running, add the 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream. Season well with sea salt and freshly milled black pepper. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Place the slices of jamon serrano on a paper towel in the microwave and zap for 15 seconds. Turn the slices over and zap for another 15 seconds. Remove from microwave and allow to cool and crisp up.
To serve, ladle the cold soup into 4 small bowls, finely grate over the remaining boiled egg, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with the jamon.