After my first velvety spoonful of this chilled tomato soup with a garlic kick, a specialty of Cordoba, I had to ask, “Salmorejo, where have you been all my life?”
I really couldn’t believe that such a flavorful and satisfying dish made with everyday Mediterranean ingredients was not as well-known around the world as its more famous Andalusian cousin, gazpacho.
Salmorejo, thickened with a good dose of bread, is richer and denser than the more vegetable-packed (and delicious in its own right) gazpacho, which is more like a salad in comparison. Topped with diced egg and serrano ham, salmorejo can easily be served as a main dish, even for hearty appetites.
This soup has never failed to surprise and delight friends and family at home in the States. The bright salmon color engages the eyes; the cool, silky texture pleases the tongue; and the fine balance of flavors – the zing of garlic and vinegar, the sweetness of tomatoes and peppers, and the saltiness of ham – intrigues the taste buds.
I have come to crave salmorejo when the temperatures in Murcia begin to soar, and throughout the summer as tomatoes continue to ripen on their vines. Although the flavors and sensations are now familiar, each new spoonful sings with the revelation of the first.
Easy Salmorejo Adapted from Thremomix cookbook, Thermomix – un nuevo amanecer
This recipe is all about minimal fuss – you roughly chop the ingredients, and then let technology take over. Many salmorejo recipes I have come across call for peeling and/or seeding the tomatoes, which I’m sure is delicious, too, but really isn’t necessary if you have a powerful kitchen machine (while there may not be anything out there as mighty as the Thermomix, as I wrote in my last post, a good blender or food processor will work, too).
2 cloves garlic, quartered
2 pounds very ripe and very red tomatoes, halved if they are small, quartered if they are medium or large
1 small (or 1/2 large) red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into large chunks
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 cups cubed or torn country bread, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry or wine vinegar, plus more, to taste
1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
For the garnishes:
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
3 1/2 ounces (100 g) serrano ham or prosciutto, diced if the slices are thick, sliced into thin strips if the slices are thin (optional)
Drop the garlic cloves, tomatoes, red pepper and salt into a powerful blender or food processor and blend until smooth (if all the tomato and pepper does not fit at first, simply add as you go). Then add the bread and the vinegar and, once again, blend until smooth. With the motor running at medium-low speed, gradually pour in the olive oil and whiz until emulsified. Adjust the vinegar, olive oil and/or salt if desired. At this point, the soup should be velvety smooth (almost foamy) in texture. If it is not, keep blending away.
Pour the salmorejo into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least two hours and up to overnight.
Serve garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and diced serrano ham if using.
- Check out another recipe for salmorejo including almonds in this August article in Bon Appétit – it seems word is getting out!