Other than tequila, I don’t speak a word of Spanish. So salmojero led to bandolero led to this stuck in my head.
Anyway. It’s tomacco season! Salmojero is a total celebration of tomatoes and the raw crunchy fennel, oily basil and creamy burrata complement them awesomely. Vegetarians can just skip the Serrano and add some shaved parmesan. If you want fish instead of meat, totally go for anshovies (as you know, My Heart Will Go on for Anshovies 💙).
- 15g of basil (about 1 cup)
- 120ml olive oil
- 2 bulbs of fennel, shaved
- 1t of toasted fennel seeds
- 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
- Serrano ham (about 6 thin slices)
- 4 fresh balls of burrata
- 3 – 4T capres
- Some crunchy bread and coarse salt to serve
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1/4th fresh red chilli pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 50g white bread
- 30ml good white wine or sherry vinegar
- 125 ml olive oil
+ food processor, mandolin
Basil oil: Bring a pot of water to a boil (you can add some sodium bicarbonate here to help preserving the green color) and blanch the basil for 10 seconds, rinsing immediately under running cold water in a sieve afterwards. Squeeze all of the water out, transfer to an immersion blender beaker, add 120 ml olive oil and some salt and pepper and mix to a smooth bright green oil.
Salmojero: Mix tomatoes, red pepper, garlic and vinegar to a very smooth liquid. Add the first half of the chunks of bread, mix until smooth and repeat with the second half. Slowly pour in the olive oil and season with a pinch of salt.
Mise-en-place: Toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet until you hear them pop and slightly crush them. Core the fennel bulbs and keep the green tops in a cup of cold water until use. Shave the fennel bulbs very finely – I worked from bottom to top with a mandolin. In a bowl, combine fennel, fennel seeds, 1T of lemon juice, zest of half a lemon and some salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve: Cut the Serrano ham in fine strips before serving and quickly and carefully toss with the shaved fennel. Scoop a good amount of salmojero on each plate, place a ball of burrata on each side and the fennel and ham around it. Place a few capers and fennel tops on the fennel and splash some basil oil on the salmojero. Serve with crunchy bread and coarse salt.