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Salmorejo, Gazpacho, and Summer

June 29, 2015 6 Comments

I like to use as much fresh produce as possible in all my meals. This summer I have become fascinated with cold soups. I have been a fan of gazpacho forever, and have tried small variations on that theme. Today, thanks to the ever informative index of everything, Pinterest, I am finding new ways to innovate this dish. I was inspired initially by a large haul of fresh plum tomatoes and some bell peppers.  They were ripe and needed to be enjoyed.  I found a great article in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers.  He inspired me to start the summer soup adventure with Romesco style red gazpacho, but also broadened my horizons.  Green and red gazpacho can be made more interesting by adding other fruits, herbs, and nuts. Using hazelnut rather than almond in my Romesco recipe gave me the rich taste I love in the classic Spanish sauce of the same name. This is a perfect place to improvise and shape the basic taste profiles to suit you and your garden.

The texture is matter of taste.  Some people blend everything until smooth, others prefer some smooth, and some chunks.  I am a fan of the smooth with good looking garnishes.  Salmorejo is a variation, also popular in Spain in the summer, known as salmorejo.  The ingredients are similar, and no cooking is involved.  The classic garnish used in Cordoba, the place of this yummy concoction’s origin, is hard boiled egg slices, and sometimes ham.  This beautiful vegetarian version uses smokey flavored oil to achieve the Spanish ham effect.  I will be happy with bacos, one of my processed food thrills.  The grapes and almonds do look appetizing, but chives, parsley, or any herb in the garden would work well too.

Both gazpacho and salmorejo can be made with beets, which is a riff on the tasty borscht from Europe.  There is a cold beet soup from Poland call ed Chlodnik involving horseradish cream.  The beet goes on.

I am on a roll with new ideas and delicious results.  I have cucumbers and tomatoes to use this week. I have already grilled some peppers, chiles, and plum tomatoes.   I am trying the strawberry tomato basil gazpacho this afternoon.  Sounds intriguing, since I like those things independently.  Do you have a favorite chilled soup recipe, gentle reader?  I am very interested in collecting more variations on this theme because in Tucson this is the perfect summer diet.

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