A TASTE OF SEVILLA

home made with tomatoes, bread, Spanish olive oil and ham

home made with tomatoes, bread, Spanish olive oil and ham

You probably expect me to write about France, but, being a true Parisian, I love to escape from my city. When my friend Françoise Pouget, olive oil expert, moved to Sevilla and invited me to visit, I did and was captivated and enchanted.Sevilla is a vibrant city. We walked everywhere and visited many museums and churches. We went to Cordoba by train for one day. For a thorough report on eating and drinking, I recommend my friend David Lebovitz’s archives (www.davidlebovitz.com/2013/10/seville-spain).  I did eat plenty of tapas, enjoyed CampoCruz beer as the locals do, and became addicted to my daily dose of Salmojero. Since tomato season has begun, I would like to share with you my favorite version of this typically andalusian recipe.

Salmojero originated in Cordoba. It is served cold as a soup, but because of its creamy consistency it can also be a sauce. Salmojero was “blanco” (white) before tomatoes were introduced in Spain. Today it is very smooth thanks to the electric blenders. The ingredients which have not varied over the centuries are : bread, olive oil, a touch of garlic, and a topping of chopped hard boiled eggs and “taquitos” of jamon iberico (cubes of the local cured ham).

Sans titre-1

You may add a dash of Xeres (sherry) vinegar  at the end. Personally I find it distracts from the very refreshing taste of tomatoes, bread and olive oil combined in a special way.

 

 

Salmorejo Cordobés

For 6 servings

  • 6 oz (175 g) white bread without crust, preferably day-old and slightly stale
  • 3 pounds (1,300 kilos) tomatoes, ripe
  • 1 (or 2) garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs salt
  • a dash of sherry vinegar (optional)

For the garnish

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, halved and chopped
  • taquitos of jamón iberico (optional) or croutons, fried in olive oil

_________________

  1. Wash tomatoes, remove skin and seeds.
  2. Place tomatoes in a food processor, blend.
  3. Cut bread into small pieces. In a mortar, using the pestle, crush bread into fine crumbs. Add a little water if necessary.
  4. Add bread, salt, olive oil, garlic clove, to the tomatoes. Blend again.
  5. Check seasoning.
  6. Serve immediately in individual bowls, with a sprinkling of olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped eggs, and either spanish ham slices or croutons. Decorate with parsley leaves.

Samojero in the kitchen

Notes :

Some leave tomato skins on.

Using the mortar is for the satisfaction of doing it traditionally. The bread crumbs can perfectly go directly into the blender, after the tomatoes have been pulsed.

IMG_7834

 

If you wonder what differentiates Salmojero from Gaspacho, this is what I was told : Salmojero is thick, and contains no vegetable other than tomatoes. It is pale. Gaspacho is liquidy, can actually be drunk, and contains cucumber, red and green peppers in addition to tomatoes. It is deep red.

Spain produces more than half of the world’s olive oils. At Oleo-le (www.oleo-le.com) the shop where Françoise conducts weekly tastings, it was hard to choose from the excellent strictly spanish selection. Looking for the unusual and local, I chose OleoAureo, pressed from the PicoLimon variety, growing just north of Seville.

at Oleo-le hard to choose which olive oil to take back

at Oleo-le hard to choose which olive oil to take back

At Bar Las Teresas, both very touristic and very authentic, the cured hams were hanging and dripping extra fat in their little individual cups.

jamon iberico bellota

jamon iberico bellota

el cortador, the man who slices

el cortador, the man who slices

we are so hungry

we are so hungry

At Mercato Lonja del Barranco, which is really a food hall, including “Peggy Sue’s grill” we waited 15 minutes for our squid to be cooked, but it was worth it, tender and tasty.

delicious perfectly cooked squid (encornet en français)

delicious perfectly cooked squid (encornet en français)

We did visit the Alcazar, a glorious royal palace, dating back to the Xth century, and in the gardens we saw this amazing orange tree, to which a lemon tree had been grafted ????

orange and lemon growing together

orange and lemon growing together

I cannot resist sharing with you our experience of Semana Santa. While we were there Holy Heek began on Palm Sunday. Watching the processions, which expressed solemnity, passion, tradotion  but also joy and pride, is an unforgettable experience.

paso of the virgin Mary

paso of the virgin Mary

The Costaleros (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBSLpfVsVo) intrigued and touched me beyond reason. These guys, young, strong, who carry the heavy pasos (floats) for hours in narrow streets, and can hardly breathe under the velvet fabric hiding them from our sight, are true heroes. Enjoy the video, you will not regret it.

 

Adios, à bientôt ….

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Reply

    jules chametzky

    May 27, 2015

    I too loved Sevilla. My late wife and i were there in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the New World. I gave a paper at the European American Studies Association on the "Columbiad" by the Jewish writer and editor Abraham Cahan in a large room with a huge picture of King Juan Carlos over my throne-like seat on the stage. All very ironic and very wonderful. Jules

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      May 27, 2015

      Cher Jules,

      I would love a photo of you sitting on that throne ! Always good to hear from you,

      fondly

      Paule

  2. Reply

    Kris iwasaki

    May 27, 2015

    The food looks so good, one day I will get there too! Thanks for the photos and recipe.

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      May 27, 2015

      Thank you Kris, it is really worth the trip !
      Best regards,
      Paule

  3. Reply

    Regumbah

    May 27, 2015

    Yes, Spain! It is a must on our list of places to see and taste!

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      May 28, 2015

      Regumbah ! it has been a while ... yes I recommend Spain
      I hope all is well in Laguna Beach,
      Paule

  4. Reply

    Roz

    May 28, 2015

    Loved your post and explanation of differences in recipes. Roz X

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      May 28, 2015

      Dear Roz,

      I wish Tasmania was not so far ! Best to John and you,
      Paulexx

  5. Reply

    Lucy

    May 28, 2015

    Paule, it looks like it was a delightful trip. You captured the squid and its beautiful herb infused oil perfectly. Thanks so much for this recipe as well. Some of the most wonderful things come from very simple ingredients, and you have something there about "the satisfaction of doing it traditionally" - it makes a difference, especially if those at the table are present to hear the sounds from the kitchen or take part as the dish is prepared. Hoping to see you soon.

  6. Reply

    Sharon

    May 28, 2015

    Love Spain...and loved your comments and photos (and the recipe)
    A bientot!
    Sharon

  7. Reply

    A Canadian Foodie

    August 9, 2015

    My husband would love to get his hands on one of those little cups catching the fat from the hanging pig.
    :)
    Great story of the cold thick tomato soup... love to travel and Spain is at the top for the next trip - but I find it amazing that it is Italy known world wide for its olive oils. Just in Greece last month, there were olive trees EVERYWHERE and the oil there was the best I have ever tastes (sorry - yes, better than I have had in France, too) but, Spain makes over 1/2 of the oil in the world?
    I obviously need to learn a great deal more about olive oil!
    :)
    Valerie

    • Reply

      Paule Caillat

      September 1, 2015

      Valerie,

      no one knows never enough. Greece and Italy have great olive oil, France has some (small production) Spain just has more than any other country in the world, it is historic and geographic !

      Enjoy,

      Paule


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