appetizer, breakfast, Brunch, Cheese, Dips, Food, Recipes

Caldo Godro – Sephardic Cheese and Tomato Paste Dip

 

Caldo godro is a Sephardic term in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), used to describe a warm (=caldo), thick (=godro) broth, which is actually more of a warm dip than a broth.
This rustic, simple dip, is thickened with flour, in a similar way to Sephardic sauces I have posted here before (“agristada” and “vinagre”), and requires a fairly short cooking time.
The base for this warm dip are cheese and garlic, lightly fried in olive oil. They are then topped with a mixture of tomato paste, flour and water, and seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and cooked until the mixture thickens. 
I’m quite sure that the dish was invented as a way to use leftover cheese, probably some that hardened in the days of pre-refrigeration, and couldn’t be grated.
The cheeses that are suitable for this type of preparation are ones that can hold their shape after a quick frying. The original cheese, used by my maternal grandmother, who came from the Jewish community in Izmir (or Smyrna, when under Greek rule), was a sheep milk cheese, that is common to the area. As I couldn’t find this specific cheese in the US, I thus successfully substituted it with other dry cheeses, such a Parmesan (as shown here) and Pecorino. Another option I came up with, was using Halloumi cheese, even though its texture is quite different.
This tasty and fragrant dip is served warm, in the winter time, with fresh or toasted bread on the side, for breakfast or lunch. However, I also find it makes a nice light weekday dinner as well. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* Click HERE for more information about Sephardic cuisine, and HERE for more Sephardic recipes.
* I’ve tried to “fancy” the original recipe with different herbs and spices, but eventually decided that the original simple recipe tastes the best. Feel free to experiment and decide for yourself.

Makes: 2-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Tbs tomato paste (double concentrate, preferably Italian)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (I used four peppers mix)
2 Tbs flour
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, roughly broken into medium piece (see notes)
2 small garlic cloves, roughly diced
For serving: fresh rustic bread

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the tomato paste with salt, pepper and flour. Gradually, and while mixing, to avoid lumps, add the water. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cheese, and fry lightly for about half a minute. Mix gently, add the garlic and sauté for half a minute.
  3. Gradually, and while mixing with a spatula, add the tomato paste mixture. Mix gently and bring to the verge of boiling. Mix again, lower the heat to low, and cook for 4-5 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve immediately, while warm, with fresh bread on the side.
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