Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Salmorejo (thick, chilled tomato soup)

This is a bit like a more substantial version of gazpacho, thickened with bread. The recipe comes from the second Moro book, but I have adjusted the quantities a bit.

We've just started home schooling our kids, Sammy and Carmela, and part of our plan is that they help make lunch a few times a week. This was one of the first things Sammy helped to make.

white bread - 1/10th of the weight of the tomatoes (after removing crusts)
olive oil - a little bit less than 1/10th of the weight of the tomatoes
salt - 1/100th of the weight of the tomatoes
vinegar - 1/30th of the weight of the tomatoes
finely chopped garlic - about 1/2th a clove per 500g of tomatoes

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and break the bread into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.

Ham, ham, ham
The habit of including some pork in almost everything, even to the length of sprinkling a little ham on some tomato soup, is almost certainly a throwback to the Inquisition and the need that many Spaniards obviously felt to prove that they were not secret Jews or Muslims. Indeed, the ostentatious public consumption of ham is a major feature of Spanish life. Oddly enough, another sure sign that someone might be kicking with the wrong foot in 16th century Spain was the use of olive oil. (Animal fat was the approved cooking medium for Christians.)

The tables, however, are beginning to turn, as can be seen from the photo below. If you look carefully at the red awning, you can just make out the words 'El Rincón del Jamón', Spanish for 'The Ham Corner'. The sign below advertises the new Moroccan restaurant which has replaced it, 'El Andalusi'.

Apparently El Andalusi was too exotic for Gaditano habits. It fairly quickly went out of business, to be replaced by a ghastly Argentinian restaurant. "Sobre los gustos, no hay nada escrito".

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