Salmorejo-Style Tomato Soup with Hard Boiled Eggs, Olives and Crisp-Fried Ham
This is a rich, thick and creamy chilled bread soup made without water, which relies on the juice from lots of skinned fresh tomatoes. It is usually served garnished with Serrano ham, which I like to crisp up to add texture, and chopped hard-boiled eggs, but I also serve it from time to time topped with some faked, good quality, olive oil-preserved tuna in place of the crisp fried ham. Salmorejo is typically found in Córdoba, but is enjoyed throughout Spain.
- Break the bread into a bowl and sprinkle with 250ml water. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile quarter the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds into a sieve set over another bowl. Roughly chop the flesh and rub the juices from the seeds through the sieve. Discard the seeds.
- Put the tomato flesh and juices into a liquidiser with the garlic and sugar (if using) and blend until smooth. Squeeze as much water as you can from the bread. Add the bread to the liquidiser and blend once more. Then, with the motor still running, gradually pour in 150ml of the oil, the vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of salt. The mixture should be thick but not stiff. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Chill 4 small soup bowls.
- Shortly before serving, lower the eggs into a pan of boiling water and cook for 9 minutes. Drain, cover with cold water and, when they are cold, peel off the shells. Chop both eggs roughly into small pieces.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 2 slices of ham side by side and fry or about 30 seconds on each side until crisp and lightly golden. Lift onto kitchen paper to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining ham. Once it is cold, crumble into small pieces.
- To serve, spoon the soup into the chilled bowls and garnish with the chopped egg, crisp ham and olives. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and serve straight away while it is still cold.
(Taken from José Pizarro’s Spanish Flavours: Stunning Dishes Inspired by the Regional Ingredients of Spain, published by Kyle Books and available from Kyle Books and Amazon). With kind permission of Kyle Books.)
- 340g slightly stale white country-style bread, crusts removed (225g crustless weight)
- 1kg ripe and juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- pinch of sugar (if your tomatoes are not sweet)
- 150ml good quality olive oil, plus one tablespoon and extra to serve
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 large free range eggs
- 6-8 thin slices of Serrano ham
- 50g good quality green or black pitted olives, quartered lengthways
- Sea salt