Salmorejo Cordobés

Córdoba’s thick Tomato and Bread Soup

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Andy, the bar manager, describes this classic cold soup as ‘the beach cricket of Spain — it screams summer’. For me, it’s a celebration of the tomato. Real tomatoes. Sweet, tangy tomatoes at their vine-ripened best. Home gardeners with a surplus of late summer tomatoes and a loaf of 2-day-old bread will find this a pleasing solution to their oversupply. However, a word of caution. Follow the ingredients and method meticulously as deviations may cause an imbalance of flavours. This is a soup from my family’s home in Còrdoba — another reason to treat this dish with great respect.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) vine-ripened, soft tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 250 g (9 oz) 2-day-old pasta dura or other firm crusty bread, crusts removed
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) chilled water
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 80 g ( oz) jamón, cut into thin strips fruity extra virgin olive oil, extra, to serve, (optional)

Method

Purée the tomatoes and garlic in a food processor for 1 minute, or until as smooth as possible. Strain the tomato mixture through a sieve, stirring and gently pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the skin and seeds.

Break the bread up into golf ball-sized pieces and put in a large stainless steel bowl. Pour the strained tomato mixture and olive oil over the bread with 1 heaped teaspoon salt. (You’ll need this amount of salt as it is a cold soup and anything served cold needs extra seasoning.)

Using your hands (your hands should be very clean), squish the tomato mixture into the bread, really working the liquid through. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, allowing the bread to soak up the liquid.

Purée the entire mixture again in a food processor, adding enough of the chilled water until smooth and velvety. The soup should be a salmon pink colour. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve the soup in bowls with the egg, jamòn, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired.