Looking through the photos on my phone, I’m still overwhelmed by the depth of beauty of Spain and Portugal. I’m thankful to have been invited to visit the two countries – and the missionaries who live and work there – with TEAM.
I knew the Iberian Peninsula would be rich in history. I knew my journal would be filled with stories of grace and hope breaking through the chains of political and religious oppression. I knew I would be changed, because every adventure we say “yes” to changes us in some way.
But my knowing was so limited to the reality of it all.
The stories are now being written. They are profound things, still rattling around in my soul, about our enemies and our fears and our desperation.
Those stories will be shared soon. But first, this. A diversion, if you will. Because of all the things I was expecting to feel in Spain, this was not one of them. And once you learn about gazpacho’s sexy sister, you will find yourself as captivated as I have become.
I’m not sure how to say this without blushing a bit.
I may have fallen in love with a soup. A cold one, at that.
I may have eaten this soup three times in two days while in Spain.
I may have served this soup to friends at CasaRock, drizzled with exquisite 1881 olive oil from Osuna (along with Dona Antonia Tawny from Porto, Portugal – quite possibly the smoothest and most divine Port around, so you need to fetch some) – and made extra so I could enjoy it again.
And I may have served this soup as an appetizer – before serving SOUP as a main course – at a girls night slumber party.
I plan to make this soup again this week. Just once. Maybe.
I may have a problem.
Salmorejo (pronouced “sal-mo-REY-ho”) is luxurious and creamy and full of character. And it’s good for #kitchentherapy time, because (with the exception of scalding the tomatoes to remove the skins), it’s all about chopping and tearing and blending and tasting and no cooking. The flavor is like a sun-drenched garden. I like gazpacho. But salmorejo is just – sigh.
There are several recipes online, but this one makes a soup that’s like a love letter from España itself – because I believe that salmorejo would write a love letter to you if she could. She’s winking at you right now.
Make this and serve it in place of a salad, or pour it into shot glasses as part of a tapas spread. No matter the time of year, this soup is just – sigh, again.
8 medium Plum tomatoes (get tree-ripened tomatoes so you’ll have good flavor)
1 medium Baguette or loaf of French Bread
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (high quality with a lot of flavor)
1 medium clove of garlic
A splash – or two – of sherry vinegar (this adds such great brightness)
Pinch of salt
2 hard-boiled eggs
Thinly sliced Serrano ham (or prosciutto), baked until crisp
Put a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cut a small cross in the bottom of each tomato. When the water is boiling, add the tomatoes and let them dance around for about a minute, or until you see the skins start to lift. Remove immediately and place in a cold water bath (a bowl filled with ice and cold water). Remove the skins from the tomatoes.
Once the skins have been removed, cut out the cores and seeds from the tomatoes and save them in a small bowl. Put the tomato pulp in a blender or food processor, and then – using a strainer – squeeze all the juice you can from the cores and seeds and add the juice. Blend or process at high-speed for about 30 seconds or until the tomatoes are well-chopped.
Remove all the “insides” of the bread – about 2 cups total – and add to your tomatoes. Let the bread soak for about 5 minutes. Then add your vinegar, salt, and garlic, and blend or process until the soup is smooth and the bread has disappeared.
Slowly add the olive oil to your mixture as you continue to blend or process, and blend until the soup is creamy.
Add one hard-boiled egg to your soup and blend until it disappears. Then TASTE the soup and add additional vinegar or salt to taste. If the soup isn’t creamy enough for your liking, you may add additional bread too.
Chill for at least an hour, and then serve, garnished with finely diced hardboiled egg and crumbled ham. Enjoy!
The above recipe has been adapted from Antonia’s own at Spanish Sabores.
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