People all over are beginning to go autumnal, talking about apples and nuts and even mushrooms.
Here in Spain we´re still with the first rains after the summer, and the weather is beautiful and fresh, but doesn´t warrant full-on adventures into soups and stews, yet.
Plus, the markets are still full of gorgeous nectarines, and ripe, beautiful tomatoes are practically given away.
Here´s a recipe to suit the times. Summery in looks, autumnal in texture. Porra antequerana, a stodgy tomato-based dip, close cousin to gazpacho, and twin sister of salmorejo. But I´ll deny having said that. You know how touchy people are about their regional dishes. Let´s just say that it´s a gorgeous dip, and has a very pretty colour that will make your hummus/tzatziki/tapenade layout all the more pleasing.
I´ve had this recipe from Cecilia, who is one of the best cooks in the world, and that includes Ferran Adrià and your mother.
Having said that, I´ll admit to having tweaked the recipe just a little. My vanity knows no bounds.
The basic recipe is made by soaking stale bread with water, adding ripe tomatoes, some garlic and oil, and blitzing to make a salmon coloured paste, as thick as hummus or slightly less,as you like.
Cecilia told me to take equal weights of tomatoes and bread, and I started out with 200 grams of bread from a country type loaf, crusts off. Instead of soaking it with water, she recommends peeling the tomatoes directly over, and letting their juice soak the bread. Leaven them standing a little while, or not, depending on your patience. I didn´t.
Add half a clove of garlic, a 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt to taste.
Blitz away. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes were, it will be a very thick paste, or a rubbly mess of soaked crumbs.
The canons now are to water it down until it´s to your liking. I thought, however, that since we´d started without water, it made more sense to just add tomatoes. That way, it didn´t become so thin so soon, but the flavour, my friends...
In the end I used up about half a kilo, and achieved a bowl of the most glorious orange stuff ever.
It´s traditionally served with bread or breadsticks, but that makes it "pan con pan, comida de tontos", as my darling Escolástica says.
Personally, I think it cries out for crudités, cucumber and red peppers being especially suitable, carrots and cauliflower also very nice.