Beet salmorejo with EVOO: a summertime favorite
Salmorejo is a typical dish from Córdoba that is like a thicker version of gazpacho, a cold tomato soup. The most common variety of salmorejo is made from tomatoes. However, historically it has been made from many different ingredients including apples and oranges, using what was in season. In this version, I use cooked beet root to add a lovely magenta, sweet twist.
30 minutes to prepare plus chilling time.
2 lbs small ripe red tomatoes (plum tomatoes or vine ripe are good varieties to use)
1 very big or two small cooked beets
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and with the stem center removed
3 1/2 oz of day-old dense white bread without the crust
1/4 c of EVOO. I used an hojiblanca (brands to look for Venta de Barón, Cladium, Oleoestepa) because it has the aroma of fresh cut grass and peppery aftertaste. This variety gives the dish the fresh taste and kick at the end that I was looking for and pairs very well with the tomatoes.
2 tsp vinegar (I used a local sherry wine vinegar)
Salt to taste (I went with a local sea salt extracted in Isla Cristina, Huelva called Biomaris)
Goat yogurt (optional)
1. Cut the bread in large chunks and remove the crust. Soak the bread in about two or three cups of water while you start preparing the tomatoes
2. Peel the tomatoes. My technique is to make two slits in the skin of the tomatoes to run the circumference of the tomatoes and put them in very hot water but without boiling the tomato. When you see the skin lifting a bit, remove the tomato from the hot water and peel away the skin under cold water.
3. Cut the tomatoes and beet/s into chunks and put them in a blender. Add the two cloves of garlic. Blend on high until the color is uniform.
4. Take the bread out of the water and squeeze it as if were like a sponge to remove almost all of the water. Add the bread to the blender. Blend again on high.
5. While the blender is on high, carefully add the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. When the texture appears smooth, stop the blender and have a taste and adjust salt and vinegar accordingly. Blend again.
6. Chill the soup and serve in bowls. I like to add a dollop of goat yogurt (not typical) and/or a drizzle of that olive oil to add a finishing touch.