On a warm summer day, what’s more comforting than a chilled soup? This Cold Cream of Tomato Soup from SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, is fresh and super easy to make. Best of all, you can add any or all of your favorite garnishes to top of this delicious dish.
For a very different cream of tomato soup, I like the following. I first tasted it when I was between old and young, one hot early morning in Cordoba, Spain . . . and felt comprehending and comforted in a hundred ways outside and in. It is even more economical than the American one, relying on stale bread instead of cream, and just as efficient to make. It is what all children I cook for will think of when in later life they hear the sentimental summons of “cream of tomato . . .”
COLD CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP (SALMOREJO)
about 2 pounds good, ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup good sherry or red wine vinegar
1⁄2 pound crustless stale peasant bread, in slices or pieces
1 to 2 cups very good olive oil
optional: chopped hard-cooked eggs, shreds of Spanish ham, croutons for garnish
Cut out the hard portion near the stem of each tomato, saving any juice. In a blender, working in batches, blend the garlic, sherry, some stale bread, and a small pinch of salt. Add some tomatoes and blend further. Then add more bread and tomatoes and any saved juice. In a slow, steady stream, add 1 cup of the olive oil, dividing it in half if you are doing two batches due to blender size. Decide whether to add more olive oil by tasting. It should be quite thick and rich, but not sticky, and to your liking. Add more olive oil, slowly, stopping when your instincts say to. When all the ingredients are blended, taste for salt and vinegar and adjust. Serve this chilled, topped with any or all of the optional garnishes, or just an additional drizzle of olive oil.
In his fine 1960 The Queen Cookery Book, Ambrose Heath wrote of a French tomato soup “or shall we call them ‘pommes d’amour,’ since there is an indigenous connection between this soup and the marriage bed.” Is there? Salmorejo is energizing, but I can’t say to what end.
I have, in winter, sacrilegiously served it hot, after finding a batch in the corner of my freezer. Topped with crisp croutons and fried ham, it was savorous, if not aphrodisiacal.
Pair this soup with a gooey grilled cheese.