By Robert Ramsey — Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor
With the heat of August ushering in peak tomato harvest, I came up with a few recipes to get creative with summer’s favorite fruit, beginning with a rich, creamy cold soup from the Andalusia region of Spain called salmorejo. Everyone has heard of Spain’s most famous soup — the cold, refreshing gazpacho. Think of salmorejo as gazpacho’s velvety cousin: it’s rich with tasty Spanish olive oil, thickened with a bit of bread and as smooth as a perfect flan.
2 pounds tomatoes, quartered (look for the best you can find at the market)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 Serrano chili, seeded and chopped
12 ounces (1 small can) low-sodium tomato juice
½ teaspoon dry chili flakes
4 ounces white bread, torn or cubed and crust removed
⅓ cup good quality red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¾ cup good quality Spanish olive oil
Serrano ham, hard-boiled egg and chives for garnish (optional)
- In a large, non-reactive vessel, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or preferably overnight for maximum flavor.
- Working in batches, place the mixture in a Vitamix blender and slowly adjust the speed from the lowest to the highest setting. While the blender is running, slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. The color will change to a beautiful orange and the texture will become smooth and creamy. Repeat with remaining mixture.
- Return mixture to the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving in chilled bowls. Top with chopped hard-boiled egg, chopped Serrano ham, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of freshly chopped chives (if desired).
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