What is salmorejo
Salmorejo (pronounced “sal-mo-REH-ho”) is a Spanish soup made with tomato, garlic, bread, vinegar and salt, and served cold. The dish comes from the city of Cordoba in Andalusia, where the summers are hot and dry and a cold soup is refreshing in the hot afternoon sun.
The dish seems closely related to that other cold summer soup, the gazpacho, and contains largely the same ingredients. Some see the two soups as brother and sister, while others focus more on the differences and view the gazpacho more as a distant aunt. Basically, salmorejo has more bread in it (and is, therefore, thicker and creamier) and fewer vegetables (no cucumber or bell pepper).
The roots of salmorejo can be found in Roman times when people ate bread soups. The bread was, just as is currently the case with salmorejo, crushed together with garlic and vinegar in a mortar. This version of salmorejo was still white because the tomato had not yet been introduced to Europe. Only at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries did the salmorejo slowly but surely change colour. The tomato was first used in the soup during festive meals and later became a permanent fixture.
Did you know...
Salmorejo is also served as a hot sauce, especially with rabbit (conejo and salmorejo).
How to make salmorejo
Peeled tomatoes are ground to juice in a blender (chopping by hand is also allowed, but there is no Spanish mamá who continues with this since the introduction of the food processor!) The soft crumbs from the inside of a loaf of white bread are scooped through and the soaked breadcrumbs are then added to the tomato juice, garlic, (sherry) vinegar and salt and ground again to a smooth consistency. Finally, a good spoonful of extra virgin olive oil is stirred through.
Depending on the chef, the bread can also first be soaked in water, or in olive oil and vinegar. These minimal differences in preparation method do not, however, affect the typical flavours of the dish.
How to eat
In Spain, salmorejo is often sprinkled with small cubes of Serrano ham and crumbled hard-boiled egg.
The soup tastes great with a piece of Spanish tortilla.