Summertime in Paris means cooling off any way you can. Iced coffees give way to chilly rosés and windows are kept open in hopes of replacing the tired, hot air trapped between the walls. It also means cold soups of any sort – to start and to finish meals, at home and at restaurants all over the city. I never had strawberry soup before I lived in France – now I think about putting everything I see at the market into the blender and chilling it down.
Gazpacho is the gateway, I but I got quickly bored with it and wrote off cool tomato soups awhile back – until I was in Madrid in July a couple of years ago.
Say hola to my new summer favorite, salmorejo.
Basically a stripped-down gazpacho – just tomatoes, some old bread, sherry vinegar and peppery, fruity olive oil – salmorejo’s wonderful because each of these few ingredients has a chance to shine. It’s super-quick to make, and not a bit of heat is required except for boiling some water to remove the tomato skins.
Do it in the morning before you start your day. When you get home, all you do is open the fridge. Salmorejo’s there for you.
Chop up a hardboiled egg, put it on top, and call it dinner. I do.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 pounds tomatoes
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 cups stale bread, crust removed
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ½ cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- salt to taste
- 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
- Gently make an “X” on the bottoms of the tomatoes (scoring the skin, not the flesh), and put them in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. After 30 seconds, remove the tomatoes, peel the skins off, and let cool.
- When cool, add them to your blender along with the garlic and purée. Add the bread to the tomatoes and let the bread sit in the tomato purée for 15 minutes to soften. Blend.
- Add the sherry vinegar and blend.
- Add the olive oil in a stream and let the blender go until you have a smooth, silky, creamy-looking soup. Taste for seasonings. Chill for a few hours in the fridge. Serve with chopped egg and a swirl of olive oil.