Thursday, August 20, 2015

Salmorejo- Gazpacho's Creamier Cousin

While I'm writing this, I'm sitting in a lovely garden over looking the beautiful Danube region of Wachau in Lower Austria.

The last weeks have been so incredibly hot that even the Austrian country side known for its lovely landscape displaying all shades of green has slowly turned into  sad 50 shades of brown.
People try to escape the heat in the city travleing to the many lakes that surround Vienna and having a refreshing swim, even it's only after office hours.
We had literally tropical nights with temperatures far beyond any historical record.
But it's not all about heat, there are as well the joys of summer such as:
-Wonderful ice cream at our favorite Italian ice cream parlor.  Zanoni in Down Town Vienna seems quite addictive to all my family.

-A delicious Frapuccino at one of the many traditional Viennese Cafes.

 -A refreshing swim at the gorgeous "Krapfenwaldl" public swimminig pool
 -Summer nights at one of the typical Heurigen, where white wine from the latest harvest is served, together with fresh and delightful simple food and typical Viennese music.
Fuhrgasselhuber at the district of Neustift is one of our favorites.

-Enjoying my favorite book under the shadow of an old tree
And there are as well all the gastronomic pleasures of summer.
One of them is the simple, light and refreshing Salmorejo.
This wonderful iced tomatoe soup comes originally from the Spanish region of Cordoba.
Its simple elegance and perfect harmony of flavors and textures makes it an all time summer favorite.

I got this recipe from my friend Pepe, a Spanish diplomat and  foodie with a passion for the delicious plates of his home country.
When we tried the Salmorejo at his home, I got carried away by it-s fantastic taste and was astonished how simple it is to prepare.
This is why I want to share this gorgeous little summer secret with you.
Less known abroad than it's cousin Gazpacho, it is very popular in Spain and is starting to conquer the many foreign visitors to Spain as well.
This is what you need:
1 cup of day old white bread. crusts discard, cut into chunks
1 kg of ripe red tomatoes,  peeled.
1/2 a cup of excellent quality Spanish olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed ( for me, just one worked fine)
1/4 cup of Balsamico vinegar (or Sherry vinegar)
1 hard boild egg and Jamon Serrano to garnish
Coarse salt
Cut out the cores of the tomatoes and divide each tomato into four.

Blend tomatoes at high speed until creamy..
Add the bread soaked in a bit tomato juice or water, the  garlic and the vinegar. Pulse through.
Add olive oil and if necessary a bit more of water and blend just to reach a creamy texture. At the end add the vinegar and mix again.
Check the seasoning, add more oil if necessary and this wonderful summer dish is ready.
Garnish with chopped hard boiled egg and chopped Jamon Serrano,

Serves 4 larger or 6 small p.
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