Too Hot To Cook: Salmorejo
It is too darn hot in Central MA. It is August, so nobody is surprised. This is also New England, so everyone is complaining. For those of you not from New England, popular opinion holds that the only “comfortable” temperature range is between 58 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Any other temperatures are too cold or too hot.
Recently, I learned about an uncooked, pureed tomato soup from the Andalusia region of Spain called salmorejo. My favorite part? Like many soups, there is no recipe per se, just some ingredients you probably have in the house, and a technique. Also an endearing quality: the most time consuming part is waiting for it to cool down in the refrigerator. It does not hurt that we have a decent flow of tomatoes coming out of the garden, either.
To make salmorejo, you will need the following:
- Some ripe tomatoes (I used about two pounds)
- Garlic, if you like raw garlic (My mouth is a fan but my tummy is not, so I left it out.)
- Bread, which will be used to thicken the soup (Most sources I found recommend white bread, and baguette was often named specifically.)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Here is how that all comes together:
Start with a few tomatoes in the blender (or one tomato if yours are normal sized; mine seem to be on the small side this year). Add just enough water to get the blender to work and pulse until the tomatoes are broken up. Once they are ground up, add the rest of the tomatoes and the garlic if you are using it. Give it a good spin on high speed.
Take your bread of choice, tear it into small bits and add it to the blender. Some say to use the inside only, others say the crust is integral to the thickening process. I used the crust. You just do you.
Start the blender again. While the bread is integrating into the mix, add a drizzle of olive oil.
When you get a smooth, thick texture, you are done with the hard work. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stash in the refrigerator to chill.
If you are feeling ambitious, you can top your salmorejo with chopped hard cooked egg and chopped ham or prosciutto. That feels like extra work to me, so I just drizzled a little extra olive oil on mine. This cold soup was refreshing, and highlighted the flavor of the perfectly ripe tomatoes. I think garlic might have over powered that. The bread and olive oil made it surprisingly filling.
We still have plenty of tomatoes on the vine in the Food It Yourself garden, and we will undoubtedly have more hot weather before the season is through. I will definitely keep salmorejo in mind on those too-hot-to-cook nights. What have you been eating this summer? Share in the comments!