Missing Spain

July 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’ve been remiss, forgive me. This is the real world catching up with me here. It’s been a busy few months since I got back from a month-long trip that started in Casablanca and ended in Madrid with Lisbon, among other cities, in between. And now I am missing the flavors of Spain.

GranadaGranada

SevilleSeville

Spain. A country of soaring mountains, beautiful cities, towns and villages, outstanding art and architectures, and a diverse cuisine left by the Moors, Romans and the Greeks.

cochinilloCochinillo before the chopping ritual

dessertCoffee and dessert in a coffee shop in Ronda

Although very familiar to me, its cuisine still managed to leave a lasting impression. One dish that persists three months after our pleasurable acquaintance is Salmorejo, a variation of one of Andalusia’s famous dish, Gazpacho. A close cousin, if you will.

Like gazpacho, it is a cold tomato soup, only thicker. While gazpacho has tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and onion, the vegetable present in Salmorejo is only tomato, and it uses garlic, not onions. Not as popular as gazpacho outside of Cordoba, where this soup originated, it has lately been gaining more recognition in and outside of Spain. Both are excellent summertime dishes, great as a starter or a light meal.

salmorejo

Usually served with hardboiled eggs and Spanish ham (Jamon Serrano or Iberico), I opted for the lighter accompaniment of green grapes and almond, a garnish borrowed from another cold soup, Ajo Blanco.

Salmorejo

Adapted from Food And Wine June 2013 Issue

What You Need:

  • 1 kilo tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups white bread or baguette, crust removed and cubed
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • salt

Garnish:

  • a few seedless green grapes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. roasted almonds, chopped

What You Do:

  1. Scald the tomatoes: Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water. Cut a small cross at the bottom of each tomato. When the water is boiling, add the tomatoes, leave for 30-60 seconds. Remove and immediately place in ice water. The skin will peel right off.
  2. Cut out the cores of the tomatoes. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the bread cubes. Let stand for 15-minutes until the bread is soft.
  3. Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor. Pulse with the grated garlic and vinegar until smooth. With the machine on, gradually add in the ¼ olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  5. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the grapes, almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

I find that the longer it sits in the fridge, the better the flavors of the ingredients meld. And on a truly hot day, the cold grapes is a burst of refreshing sweetness, combine it with the crunch of the almonds… you know you have a winner here.

For more of Spanish food goodness, check out the article I wrote for Exquise Magazine here.

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