Valladolid Bread Soup with Ham Caviar

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions as a first course, 16 as a tapa

Ingredient Amount
For the soup  
Serrano ham bones 1 lb.
Water 2 ½ qts.
Salt 1¼ tsp. or as needed
Olive oil, extra virgin, divided use ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp.
Day-old baguette, cut into ½-inch dice 4 cups
Garlic, minced 2 tsp.
Paprika 1 tsp.
For the ham caviar  
Fine tapioca pearls 2 Tbsp.
Paprika Oil 2 tsp.
Serrano ham, finely chopped 3 Tbsp.
Chives, chopped 1 Tbsp.


  1. Make the soup. Combine the ham bones and water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover partially, and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender, skimming often. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine strainer. Season to taste with the salt and set aside.
  2. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bread. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet, add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring often. Stir in the paprika, cook for 30 seconds more, and remove from the heat.
  3. Add 4 cups of the ham bone stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée in two batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Thin with 1 to 1 ½ cups of stock as needed to achieve a cream soup consistency. Return the soup to the pot and keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Prepare the ham “caviar.” Bring 2 cups of the ham stock to a boil ovr medium-high heat in a small pot. Add the tapioca and boil for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tapioca pearls are tender and clear. Add hot water as needed to maintain about 2 cups of liquid in the pot throughout the cooking time. Once the tapioca is cooked, drain well with a strainer, and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. If the tapioca sticks together, rinse and drain briefly before using, stirring to separate any pearls that have clumped together.
  5. Spoon the soup into glasses or bowls. Top with about 2 teaspoons of the ham-flavored tapioca, about ¼ teaspoon of paprika oil, about a teaspoon of chopped Serrano ham, and about ¾ teaspoon of chives.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Jesús Ramiro for Junta de Castilla y León, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at the World Marketplace on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006.

© 2018 The Culinary Institute of America