Have you ever heard the word "mazamorra"?
Do you know that even for some Andalusians it is a somewhat unknown dish?
But deep down it is a recipe that has always been with us: mazamorra is to ajoblanco what salmorejo is to gazpacho. In this post we discover the keys to this delicacy.
In the last decade many Cordovan restaurants and prominent chefs, such as Celia Jiménez, are incorporating in their menus the mazamorra, anancient cold cream based on almonds, bread, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Tourists or the locals themselves began to be surprised by this dish since ajoblanco has always been much more popular as a cold drink. As it contains less water than ajoblanco, the result is a thick and delicious cream, which can be accompanied with different toppings, making it very versatile.
What is the origin of mazamorra or ajoblanco? Well, it is believed that since Roman times something like a "majado" was already being made with these ingredients, since the mixture is highly nutritious, satiating and economical. Nowadays it is a wonderful way to make "cuisine de aprovechamiento". Traditionally it is served with whole grapes, raisins or apples. We can deduce from this that its origin is 100% Mediterranean.
This dish has different variants depending on where we are. "Maza-" means "dough" in Greek (hence comes, for example, marzipan). On the other side of the Atlantic, we find an Argentinian dessert of indigenous origin called "mazamorra", which is a kind of porridge with milk. In Eastern Mediterranean countries, the equivalent of mazamorra is a mashed mixture of legumes, oil, etc. It seems that the only thing that the mazamorras of other places have in common is the light color of the mash.
Isn't it wonderful how the climate of a country or region together with local customs can modify a dish to make it unique?
That is why gastronomy is culture, history and art.
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It seems that with the arrival of the tomato in Europe, the salmorejo became popular and the mazamorra was more forgotten, since it is much easier and faster to clean and prepare tomatoes than to boil and peel almonds. In addition, the tomato season coincides with the consumption of salmorejo and it is a very bulky fruit so you do not need a large amount to get a good salmorejo.
However, it is not superfluous to make ajoblanco or mazamorra regularly since the properties of almonds are very special and in general, we sin of not consuming enough nuts in our day to day.
Now let's talk about how the mazamorra is served. And if there is one thing that these cold creams from Córdoba allow for, it is creativity. They are not closed and immovable recipes. In Cordoba we not only find salmorejo with egg and ham but also with apple, cucumber, tuna or fried eggplant. Mazamorra has always been served with fruit to give sweetness and contrast to the mixture of EVOO, garlic and vinegar. But lately we see a more "exotic" version of the dish by mixing it with sardines, anchovies or salmon, following the salty line.
We are approaching summer, although it seems that we have already lived a "little summer" in March and April. Cold creams are a great opportunity to cook fast, easy, delicious, refreshing and for several days.
What is the best extra virgin olive oil for a salmorejo or mazamorra? Well, it will depend on the taste of each one, but without a doubt EVOO plays a fundamental role in the final cream, in fact it is added little by little while the rest of the ingredients are being beaten so that it binds perfectly.
In our opinion, the extra virgin olive oil must have "body", flavor and intensity, in order to give personality and nuance to the dish. The extra virgin olive oil should never mask or overshadow the rest of the flavors. If this happens, it will be like adding more cloves of garlic than necessary and the spiciness will invade everything. That is why our bet is the premium hojiblanca iOliva, because it has the perfect dose of intensity, flavor, reminiscences of fruit trees, etc. The early harvest and cold extraction are perfectly noticeable when tasting the salmorejo or mazamorra, as you can feel the power that the EVOO is giving to the cream and how it enhances and magnifies the flavor of the tomato or almonds. If you also add iOliva to the final dish, when you have plated it, impregnating also the accompaniments on the surface, the result will be incomparable.
Well, now you know a little more about mazamorra and if you already know it, we hope we have given you reasons to prepare it this week or taste it in a Cordovan restaurant. How do you like it? More crushed, with more lumps? Do you prefer ajoblanco because you take it as a drink? What do you put as an accompaniment? We are ready to hear it all.
In Aceites La Muralla we are in the middle of a process of change, that's why the photos that illustrate this post are not our own. Soon the photos of the recipes we mention will be ours. In the meantime, do you have any idea of a dish where EVOO is essential? Would you like to make a recipe where extra virgin olive oil has a special role? Do you take good photos and gastronomic videos and are you passionate about the foodie and gourmet world? Write us or call us and we will be happy to talk to you.
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