When summer is in full swing, and the temperatures rise, there are quite a few days where even I don’t feel like cooking dinner!
So when I stopped by the farmers market on Saturday morning, I noticed several vegetable stands overflowing with perfectly ripe tomatoes. There were bright red heirloom tomatoes, pale yellow slicers, and several kinds of cherry tomatoes. All bursting with color and smelling like tomatoes should smell!
While I was picking out some padrones peppers for roasting, memories from our trip to Spain several years ago came back! While exploring Tarragona, we ate at one of the small bar/restaurants on several hot afternoons. We had stumbled across it looking for the Roman Museum, and instantly liked the place. We plopped ourselves down in the shade of a Salmorejo colored umbrella, ordered some ice-cold lemonade, a slice of house pizza and of course, some of Gazpacho’s famous cousin, Salmorejo.
This was the first time I had ever encountered this cold soup. This reddish-pink concoction was served in a chilled, tall glass garnished with olives. The flavor was absolutely out-of-this-world! I just had to ask the waitress how Salmorejo was made! “Tomatoes, bread, garlic, a little vinegar and a pinch or two of salt”, she answered with a smile. I had a hard time believing this, because it just seemed impossible to create something this flavorful with just a handful of ingredients.
The secret for the very best result is using nothing but the very best tomatoes! It won’t be nearly as good with supermarket type tomatoes! Also, don’t forgo the cucumber and capers! The tart, salty and pickled capers add a whole other dimension. If you are not familiar with capers, try them! They are the flower buds of a mediterranean shrub. In a pinch, you can also use some good olives. But I do think the capers are better with this soup.
Back to reality! After I picked out some padrones peppers, I decided to get a bunch of tomatoes to finally make this soup! Allison had some very ripe (exactly the kind you want for this recipe!) tomatoes, which I got for a bargain! Thank you Allison and Ryan for working hard growing these beautiful veggies! Your farm stand rocks!!
Here is the recipe:
- about 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of really ripe tomatoes, preferably home-grown or from the farmers market
- a few cloves of garlic, peeled (roasted garlic is also tasty)
- a chunk of baguette, stale is okay
- a little sea salt
- red wine or sherry vinegar
- good quality olive oilolive oil
- some capers (olive bars at the grocery store is a good way to get some)
- some finely chopped cucumber
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into large chunks.
Put them into the blender.
Add the garlic, a little salt, a piece of french bread ( about 3 inches), 1/3 cup of vinegar and olive oil each.
Puree until the soup is completely smooth.
Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
Chill the soup until very cold.
To serve this, garnish the individual bowls with a teaspoon or two of capers and a few tablespoons of the chopped cucumber.