Italy vrs Spain …on a plate!
Losing an Euro Championship final match to Spain was not an easy thing to digest for Italy, a country with a great football (soccer) tradition. However, this is as far as football I am going to get since I rather write about the one thing Italians and Spaniards can agree on and are proud of …and that is: their culinary tradition.
Last week we had some friends for dinner so I wanted to come up with an appetizer using a recipe from Andalucía, a Southern Region of Spain, Salmorejo, which is a cold soup similar to Gazpacho with the difference that Salmorejo is creamer because it has bread on it. The traditional recipe – named Salmorejo Cordobés because it comes from the city of Córdoba – is topped with hard boiled eggs and Jamón Ibérico (dry-cured Spanish ham).
So to prepare Salmorejo you’ll need:
- About 200-250 grs of 2-day old country style bread without the crust. The quality of bread has to have a good solid consistency;
- About 1 kilo of ripe tomatoes. I used sweet plum tomatoes which are great for this recipe.
- About 200 ml olive oil. If you want a more velvety consistency, you’ll need to add more oil.
- 1 garlic clove. If you are not keen on garlic, you can use half a clove.
- About 2 tablespoons of vinegar. You can omit vinegar if you wish but if tomatoes are sweet, its acidity adds a good contrast to the final taste.
- Salt to taste (I suggest to add salt at the end because bread has already salt on it!)
- Some water
- Cut bread into pieces and soak it in water for about 10 minutes
- Peel, core and dice tomatoes. If you prefer, you can use a food mill (mouli) to get the pulp without the seeds and skin. Another method is to put tomatoes on a blender and pass them through a strainer for a smother consistency.
- Add tomatoes, olive oil and chopped garlic to the bread and blend well with a blender of processor.
- Add more olive oil if necessary to get a creamier consistency.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until well chilled
You can either serve Salmorejo as a soup or as a dipping sauce to create an array of creative and tasty appetizers. It is a very versatile, fun dish and perfect for hot summer days.
On this plate I arranged three tapas. From left to right: 1. A ball of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana stuffed with bottarga di muggine (dry grey mullet roe), and topped with lemon zest. 2. Smoked tuna topped with avocado and chives. 3. Quail egg wrapped with smoked salmon and parsley (or dill if you prefer).
This is another tapa: my interpretation of Salmorejo Cordobés but using quail eggs and Prosciutto di Parma.
Buon Appetito / Buen Provecho!