Salmorejo-style Tomato Soup

For those of you who don’t have a clue, salmorejo is a tomato soup very similar to gazpacho and usually served cold with hard-boiled eggs, lashings of olive oil, jamon serrano (Spanish dry-cured ham) and sometimes tuna. True to its origins, this recipe contains all of the above and black olives. It’s a true revelation and I need to thank chef José Pizarro for this wonderful concoction.  Salmorejo originated in the Spanish city of Cordoba, in Andalucia, but this tomato and bread soup has now conquered the whole country and is enjoyed on every dinner table. And quite rightly so! The scent alone is wonderful.

Opt for vine-ripened tomatoes as they have a more intense flavour. If you can get your hands on some heirloom varieties, then even better. As for the bread, use a decent sordough loaf, if you can. Don’t even remotely consider that sliced plastic bread you find in shops – you need something wholesome and thick. Finally, as odd as it sounds, serve this soup cold. My partner thought it very weird and did not enjoy it as much as I did, but I completely see why. The colder the soup, the thicker it gets and the more satisfying it is to eat. A true foodie experience.

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Ingredients

  • 340g slightly stale rustic-style bread
  • 1kg vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 6-8 thin slices of serrano ham
  • 100g black olives, halved
  • 2 x tins of tuna in brine, drained

Method

  1. Start by preparing the tomatoes, which will need to be skinned. In order to do so, bring a large pan of water to the boil over a high heat. Score a cross at the bottom and at the top of each tomato, then plunge them in the boiling water for about 40 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander, refresh under cold running water (or place into a bowl with water and ice), then peel. The skin will easily come off.
  2. Quarter the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds into a sieve set over a bowl, roughly chop the flesh and add to the bowl of a liquidiser. Rub the juices from the seeds through the sieve, then add to the liquidiser. Discard the seeds.
  3. Break the bread into a bowl and sprinkle with 250ml cold water. Leave for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic cloves to the liquidiser and blend until smooth. Squeeze as much water as you can from the bread, then add to the liquidiser and blend again. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.
  5. Before serving, put the eggs in a saucepan filled with cold water, then bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, then cover with cold water. Peel the eggs and cut them into small pieces.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the serrano ham slices and cook until crisped up, turning them halfway through. Set aside to drain on kitchen paper, then roughly chop.
  7. To serve, ladle the tomato soup into chilled bowls, then top with some of the olives, tuna, hard-boiled eggs and ham. Finally, drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of pepper. Enjoy!

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