Tomato soup: extending their use beyond their own season
With the end of summer, some products are taking a break until the heat re-appears in our days. I am talking about most of the vegetables that need good climate conditions for a successful growing: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries or courgettes. During the cold season it’s more likely to find greenhouse-harvested ones. Are they worse than those grown outdoors? Most people will say yes, without hesitation. Yet they taste good and we are lucky to enjoy them all year round.
Having said this, it’s time to find alternative ways to consume them now the temperatures are dropping. Normally, we prepare nice, refreshing salads like pipirrana or gazpacho; or delicious cold soups like salmorejo (my summer’s favourite). However, what about a hearty, filling tomato soup? I don’t mean the classic soup we all know, but a multi-ingredient dish in which you can taste everyone of them. This is what I learnt recently from Canal Sur’s chef Enrique Sanchez. He performed a family recipe in his TV programme and it looked so delicious that we decided to give it a go-and it was very worth.
He served the soup with classic Andalusian’s silly eggs (yes, the name is real) which are fried bread balls that look like croquettes. I will talk about it in due course. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this scrumptious soup that, if you prefer, can be turned into a vegetarian dish by removing the Serrano ham/prosciutto ingredient.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
Tomatoes (1 kg / 10 medium)
Bread baton (1)
Green pepper (1 large)
Garlic cloves (4)
Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
Cumin (1/2 teaspoon)
Serrano ham / prosciutto (a couple of slices)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
In a pot, heat up some olive oil. Finely chop the garlic cloves, the onion and the green pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are very tender. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper. Also, if you’re adding Serrano ham or prosciutto, do it now.
2. Finely chop the tomatoes and drop them into the pot with the rest of ingredients. Cook until the water evaporates and you achieve a pureed texture. At this stage, add the smoked paprika, the cumin and the bay leave too. Stir all together.
3. Once the spices are fully integrated, pour water up to filling 1/3 of the pot. Stir and start boiling at low heat.
4. Slice your bread baton and add them to the pot. Sink them under the water line with a wooden spoon. As they soak, you will need to halve them. Do it with a wooden spoon, but don’t make them too small. Cover with the lid and keep cooking.
5. After 20 minutes, check the taste and add more salt if needed. If the soup is too thick, pour a little bit more of water. Set aside for five minutes once it’s cooked.