Salmorejo is a variation of the more widely known gazpacho soup. I came accross it during my Spanish holiday this summer, and I instantly knew that once I get back home I need to try to replicate it. As with many of the traditional recipes, finding the ’real’, ’authenthic’ one is like finding a needle in a haystack. A google search for ’salmorejo recipe’ reveals more than 850,000 results. This shows how popular the recipe is. And it also shows that there are as many variations as there are chefs, cooks and recipe writers.
Nevertheless, a few things are clear: salmorejo is a thick, creamy soup, with really only a few main ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, stale bread, olive oil, vinegar – plus boiled eggs and jamon iberico on top. The quantity of garlic, bread, and the ratio of tomatoes to olive oil will inevitably vary from recipe to recipe. So I did the one thing you do when you don’t know what to do: asked a local. More accurately: bombard a local with questions. What type of tomatoes? What type of bread is best? Do you use the bread crust or not? How much garlic? Do you peel the tomatoes, do you take the seeds out? (no, you don’t!). Leave the ingredients to chill before blending? Add the oil gradually or all at once? Do you add peppers and cucumbers? (This was a hard NO!). How do you strain it – do you use a sieve AND a muselin cloth? What type of eggs do you put on top? How much jamon? Surely she must have thought I’m crazy. But in my defense, I was determined to get this right.
Salmorejo Recipe Notes
So here I am, back to the UK – armed with first hand knowledge and a gourmet magazine with a Salmorejo recipe specific for Cordoba region in Spain. Finding *the* right tomatoes was the first real struggle. I eventually found some big, round, ripe tomatoes – the Jack Hawkins variety at Waitrose – which I think is as close to ’real’ tomatoes as one can get in a UK supermarket. I used soft white bread. It wasn’t really stale, but there was no way on earth I’d now wait for 2-3 days to ‘produce’ stale bread. The look in the shop’s sales assistant’s eyes though, when I asked for ’old bread’, was priceless.
As for the other ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and garlic – these are staples in my kitcken, so no real sourcing issues here. I did brought some (ok, a lot) of jamon iberico from Spain. Jamon iberico is also available in some of the big supermarkets. For this recipe I used quail eggs, which is not exactly the norm. Good hens’ eggs are the standard – hard boiled. I used a Thermomix to make this soup – but any food processor – or even a stick blender will do the job just as well.
The Salmorejo recipe below is my own interpretation, based on the information I got first hand, and recipes that I studied from the magazine and online sources. It may well not be the most ’authentic’ one, but I do hope is at least close. Enjoy 🙂
- 1 Kg Ripe tomatoes Jack Hawkins variety
- 1 Clove garlic
- 3 Slices soft white bread including crust
- 100 Ml extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Ml red wine vinegar
- 1 Pinch sea salt
- 4 quail eggs boiled
- 4 Slices Jamon Iberico chopped
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. Add the garlic, bread (roughly teared in pieces), salt, vinegar and half the oil.
- Blitz until smooth, gradually adding the rest of the olive oil.
- Sieve through a chinoise, transfer to a pan and leave to chill for at least one hour.
- To serve, transfer to bowls, add the quail egg and chopped jamon iberico on top – and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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If you love tomatoes (of course you do!), take a look at my roasted tomato risotto recipe – this one is of Italian inspiration, and it is guaranteed to excite your tastebuds 🙂