Pepi's Kitchen (Salmorejo)
Salmorejo, basically a chilled tomato soup that originates from Córdoba, is one of my favourite things to eat in Spain. It’s so basic, but I absolutely love it and have to order it almost everytime I see it on a menu.
If you’re searching for an authentic Andalucían dish, this is it. While many complain about the lack of vegetables in some Spanish tapas, Salmorejo champions the lush tomatoes that are produced in the fertile soil of the South. Just leave out the Jamón garnish for a sublime vegetarian dish.
So what is the difference between Salmorejo & Gazpacho?
The more celebrated Gazpacho is also a chilled vegetable soup eaten during the summer months. But whereas Gazpacho will include other ingredients like celery, peppers and onions, Salmorejo’s base is made purely of tomatoes. Salmorejo is also traditionally served with Jamón and hard-boiled egg, unlike Gazpacho. It’s for this reason you will see Gazpacho drunk from a glass while Salmorejo is eaten from a bowl. Finally Gazpacho is a summer delicacy while you can order Salmorejo all year round.
Salmorejo (Salmorejo Cordobés if we’re going by the book) is a perfect lunch or dinner option. I think it’s best as a light starter to warm the stomach (even though it’s chilled) before the inevitable feast that is soon to laden your table. Most of the Andalucíans (men and women) I have met are quite particular about the exact quantities of each ingredient they add to their Salmorejo. After a bit of experimenting, here’s my version of this beautifully simple Andalucían delicacy that’s packed with nutrients.
What you're looking for here is almost a creamy texture. This comes after the soup has been left to chill in the fridge and the olive oil and tomatoes have emulsified.
Prep Time – 15 mins
Blending – 3-5 mins
The quantities used will produce enough Salmorejo to be served as a starter for 6-8 people or to be stored in the fridge for you to enjoy over a few days
*If your blender is not large enough, blend in batches
Tomatoes – 1kg (ripe)
Bread – 100g (stale)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 100g roughly
Garlic – 1 clove
Sherry Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
For the Garnish:
Eggs – 2 Large (Hard-boiled)
Jamón – either Ibérico or Serrano. Go out of your way to get the good stuff at a local deli. It makes such a difference
Eggs – Add to boiling water for 10 minutes. After this place in cold water to cool and remove the shell. Dice the egg up into small pieces and reserve (either on a plate or in the fridge if the Salmorejo is to be eaten later)
Bread – Cut into large chunks and sprinkle with cold water to loosen up
Tomatoes – Rinse, dry, halve and deseed
Garlic – Peel but leave whole
Add the tomatoes, bread, garlic, a good glug of olive oil, the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt to the blender and blend away
It’s best to blend in stages. Once it starts to become liquid, stop blending and have a taste. At this point you’re in charge so let your cooking wisdom dictate whether to add any more salt and/or vinegar. You may need to add some more olive oil to help blend the mixture some more
Once the ingredients have blended to a smooth, liquid consistency, add to a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. When ready to eat, fill drinking glasses ¾ full with the Salmorejo and garnish with the boiled egg and Jamón
Served perfectly with good quality olives and a glass of Fino or Manzanilla sherry