The NOT gazpacho tomato soup
Last week, when I posted about tomato soup, I think I inadvertently caused some confusion. I said, when I mentioned it, people made "yuk" noises and said "hot gazpacho?". That´s because gazpacho is so famous that it has overshadowed sopa de tomate (also from Andalucía, featuring mint and bits of bread floating about) and any hot tomato soup is almost unthinkable now in Spain.
This led some to believe that I meant to post about hot gazpacho, which I don´t. Not at all. My tomato soup is a variation on that classic, cream of tomato soup, as brought to you by Mssrs. Wharhol and Campbell.
It´s just a basic elemental, comforting, savoury and very satisfying bright orange creamy wonder. A serious contender for the number one slot in "favourite dinners", if it´s accompanied by something doughy and hot, preferrably some freshly baked biscuits , or a cheese muffin. I usually make it when José has been away, because I think it´s the most welcoming dinner, homely yet interesting.
It would be silly to give a recipe for it, since it´s just tomato sauce with stock and milk. And everyone knows how to make a tomato sauce, and how they like it, and no two are alike. Plus, being a soup, the variations are endless. Sometimes I make it spicy , others I don´t add milk, or I go crazy and add cream, or make it with piquillo peppers, or pumpkin. When I said it was a good fridge clearing soup, I meant it.
My favourite combo is this : one stick of celery, one carrot, one onion, one leek, one clove of garlic, one kilo tin of whole plum tomatoes, one stock cube, one big glass of water, one small glass of milk. More or less, and more or less in that order. And the family secret, a good splodge of ketchup.
The important thing is to make sure the sauce tastes good in and of itself. I like to add sugar to it, plenty. Be careful not to let the milk boil. If it´s too thick, add water, and if it´s too thin, add cooked rice, or rice cakes. Don´t serve it piping hot, wait a little. I think extreme heat takes away some of the flavour in this case.
A dollop of cream looks pretty, once the thing is in the bowl. Chili oil might be good too, or grated cheese, but for my money, pesto is the best.