Salmorejo: a love story of tomatoes and bread
I have been making gazpacho often, as it is the end of summer and a gazpacho brings back the happiest memories. It was one of the first things I learned how to make at 333 Belrose with Chef Carlo Demarco in high school during my internship. I have a soft spot for salmorejo now, as it is smooth and incorporates bread and Serrano ham, keeping the spot light on the fresh tomatoes, rather than a mixture of cucumbers, fruits, bell peppers etc. Check out our recipe. We adapted it from Jose Andres.
2 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 pound rustic white bread, crust removed, bread cubed (2 1/2 cups...you can use any neutral tasting leftover bread)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup chopped and pan-crisped serrano ham , 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving - I use an olive oil local to Charleston, SC (Olinda)
Kosher salt , to taste
Pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, to taste
In a blender or food processor, puree the chopped tomatoes with the bread, garlic, red wine vinegar, Serrano ham, lemon zest and 1/2 cup of water at high speed until velvety and smooth, about 1 minute. With the blender on, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate until the soup is cold, at least 30 minutes. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with the ham, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Eat on the same day, as its flavor and consistency will be at its best. Hope you enjoy this. Please feel free to leave any comments or ideas about how to flavor this soup below!