Vuelta a España: Salmorejo (Cold Tomato Soup)

August 24, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other, Vegetarian Vuelta a España

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Thursday’s Vuelta a España stage brings us to a finish line in Córdoba. Córdoba is a beautiful town featuring lots of gorgeous architecture and a very fascinating history. It is also the birthplace of the soup known as Salmorejo (or “rabbit sauce”). But, I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little Megabeth and In-House Taste Tester story…

During our visit to Spain few years ago, we had planned ahead and had all our hotel rooms booked except for our night in Córdoba. “No worries, we’ll find a place when we get there…” or so we thought. Turns out we were there on the same day as the Immaculada Concepcion. Apparently, folks head into Cordoba to celebrate, so, basically every hotel, B&B, motel, inn and manger were at and beyond capacity.

Mezquita-Catedral (The Great Mosque in Córdoba)

After searching for quite a bit, we finally found a woman who knew a woman who knew a woman who had a room for us to sleep in. We somehow managed to secure this room with our minimal grasp of the Spanish language and her non-existent knowledge of English. She was a kind old lady, inviting us to mass the next morning but we had to decline as we had an early morning train we needed to catch. We settled into a very tiny room with two very tiny rickety twin beds. Then, we realized, after we were lead upstairs to our room she promptly walked downstairs and locked us in for the night. (We think there was another boarder on the same floor as us but were a little too nervous to go out and meet him.) Don’t get me wrong, we were grateful for the room but we definitely had one of those, “What did we just get ourselves into?” moments.

Too bad we didn’t think ahead and smuggle in some of this tomato soup as the flavors are comforting and the bread blended in makes it oh so filling. If we had some of this soup, we probably would have had a better night’s sleep. (But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers, and, for those that were wondering, we did find the door unlocked in the morning…)

Outside the place that had the two rickety twin beds…

There seem to be as many versions of this recipe as there are celebrants in Córdoba on Immaculada Concepcion.  It’s traditionally served with serrano ham* and hard boiled eggs. But, I decided to turn it up a notch and go vegan with my interpretation of this recipe. Sure you can have gazpacho, but if you’re really hungry and want food NOW then check out this salmorejo.

*eating ham seems to be the national pastime of Spain.

Salmorejo
By Megabeth

  • 1/4 of a loaf of a loaf of crispy stick/baguette bread
  • 6 – 8 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Spanish olive oil
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt

Tear bread into small pieces and place in bowl. Drizzle some water over the bread and leave it to soften a bit.

Throw tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic and salt in blender. Blend a bit until almost smooth.

Squeeze excess moisture out of bread and throw in blender with rest of the ingredients.

Blend it up until creamy. Serve cold.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Baked Whole Garlic with French Bread

July 05, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Side Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers

The next item from the Vegetarian Tour de France Culinary Tour is an easy prep accompaniment to any meal. No need to burn ourselves out at the beginning of the tour, right? Besides, what’s better than some french bread and garlic. Just keep in mind that although this is a simple recipe it does take some cooking time. So, it’s probably a good idea to have something else going in the oven while roasting the garlic.

Baked Garlic with French Bread
via France This Way

  • 4 cloves bulbs garlic, left whole
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 French bread loaf, sliced and heated
  • 6 ounces cream cheese or soft cheese (optional) or 1/2 cup butter, softened (I used goat cheese)

recipe

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Baked Whole Garlic with French Bread

Trim the tops of the garlic heads, leaving them whole but removing about 1/4 inch. Remove excess dry skins. Rub the heads with a little of the butter or oil and put in a very small baking dish or crock the size of the four heads.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Baked Whole Garlic with French Bread

Drizzle with the rest of the oil or butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover loosely, reduce heat to 275 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover, and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Slice and heat the French bread (optional) in the last 10 minutes of the baking garlic.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Baked Whole Garlic with French Bread

To serve: Spread French bread with soft creamy cheese (optional) or butter and squeeze clove by clove onto the bread and spread it. (Megabeth note: The garlic was really really really hot so I used tongs to hold onto the garlic and a knife to pull out the garlic and to spread it on the bread.)

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Baked Whole Garlic with French Bread


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