Here is a savory salmorejo soup: a refreshing chilled Spanish tomato soup with bread and vinegar! Traditional garnishes are bits of cured ham, crumbled hard boiled eggs and a good drizzle of good quality olive oil.
Some of you might mistakenly think that this Spanish soup is a classic gazpacho but it is not.
No worries though.
Before our city trip to Sevilla I had also never heard of this delicious cold tomato soup version either.
This cold tomato soup originally comes from another Spanish city, Cordoba.
And you are right, it has some things in common with a classic gazpacho, that is for sure.
First of all: it is a Spanish cold soup.
Secondly: raw tomatoes are the main ingredient here as well.
And last but no least: you serve salmorejo cold as a starter soup or an appetizer.
No need to add raw cucumber, celery or shallots to this salmorejo though. The rest of the necessary ingredients are quite different.
That is it.
Easy Salmorejo (Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup)
One important ingredient makes it distinctively different from gazpacho: the white bread.
This gives it a much thicker consistency and creamier texture without having to add any dairy such as butter, milk or cream even.
You can easily serve gazpacho as an appetizing drink in a glass.
It is best to pour this salmorejo in a deep plate and eat it with a spoon. And that is because of its thicker consistency and the traditional garnish on top: chopped serrano ham and crumbled hard boiled egg.
Make Ahead Soup
You can make half of the soup a day in advance.
Pour the blended tomatoes, garlic, bread and olive oil through a sieve and chill the drained soup in the fridge. You just have to add vinegar, pepper and salt to taste the day itself.
Do you like chilled soups?
Then you should lso take a look at another Spanish chilled soup: ajo blanco with almonds and bread.
Easy Spanish Chilled Salmorejo Soup Recipe
- 1 lb fresh tomatoes (450 g)
- 1 tsp garlic chopped
- 3,5 oz bread (100 g), crusts removed
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar (80 ml)
- 1 hard-boiled egg crumbled
- 2 slices serrano ham chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil (60 ml)
- Soak the white bread in a little water for 5 minutes.
- Drain the bread and squeeze it out. Roughly chop the ripe tomatoes. Add them together with the chopped garlic and the white bread to a clean blender.
- Pulse into a fine mixture. Add the the olive oil.
Pulse well again into a silky smooth reddish soup. Place a fine sieve over a large pan or bowl and pour in the tomato soup. Stir the soup in the sieve well using a spatula or a spoon until you end up with a coarse pulp.
- Discard this tomato and bread pulp. Add half of the vinegar and a little pepper and salt to the tomato soup.
Stir well. Check the seasoning and add extra vinegar, pepper or salt to taste. Transfer the soup to a glass jug and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then stir the salmorejo soup well and pour it into bowls, deep plates or glasses. Garnish with crumbled hard-boiled egg, chopped Serrano ham and a few drops of olive oil right before serving.
Where does the word salmorejo come from?
The origin is somewhat uncertain, but it is believed to have its roots in the Arabic language.
The Moors, who ruled over parts of Spain for centuries, left a significant influence on Spanish cuisine, including the names of various dishes.
The term “salmorejo” might be derived from the Arabic word “سَلْمُور” (salmūr), which referred to a type of brine or marinade used to preserve food, especially fish.
Over time, this term evolved in Spanish cuisine to refer to a type of marinade or sauce used in cooking. Eventually, the term became associated with the cold tomato-based soup that is now known as salmorejo.
What different versions of salmorejo are there in Spain?
This classic Spanish cold soup hailing from Andalusia, has a few regional and creative variations that add intriguing dimensions to this traditional dish.
While the basic ingredients of ripe tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar remain consistent, some variations offer unique twists on this classic recipe.
In Córdoba, the birthplace of salmorejo, the traditional version holds sway.
Here, the soup is celebrated for its simple yet powerful blend of flavors. The bread-to-tomato ratio is meticulously adjusted to achieve a velvety texture, often resulting in a thicker consistency than gazpacho. The garnishes of chopped hard-boiled eggs and crispy pieces of jamón serrano are seen as essential elements, contributing both taste and visual appeal to the dish.
Salmorejo de Manzana
In Seville, another Andalusian city, a variation known as “Salmorejo de Manzana” takes the stage.
This version incorporates apples into the recipe, lending a touch of sweetness and a subtle crunch to the dish. The marriage of the slightly tangy tomatoes and the crisp apple pieces creates a delightful contrast that’s both refreshing and satisfying.
Salmorejo de Remolacha
Venturing beyond the Andalusian borders, some creative adaptations have emerged.
“Salmorejo de Remolacha,” or beetroot salmorejo, is a vibrant and colorful rendition. The addition of cooked beetroot not only infuses the soup with a beautiful deep red hue but also imparts a slightly earthy flavor that pairs harmoniously with the other ingredients.
This variation is not only visually striking but also a showcase of how a traditional recipe can be reinvented with modern flair.
Furthermore, health-conscious adaptations have paved the way for “Salmorejo Verde.”
This version incorporates an array of green vegetables, such as spinach and cucumber, into the mix. The result is a verdant and nourishing take on the classic, offering an extra dose of vitamins and a distinct herbal note that complements the traditional flavors.
Salmorejo de Frutas
In the realm of gastronomic experimentation, even dessert-like twists on salmorejo have emerged.
“Salmorejo de Frutas” transforms the savory soup into a sweet treat by replacing tomatoes with summer fruits like watermelon or strawberries. The bread, olive oil, and other ingredients are adapted to align with the fruity theme, resulting in a unique and unexpected dish that blurs the line between appetizer and dessert.
These variations exemplify the culinary creativity and flexibility that Spanish cuisine embraces.
While each iteration pays homage to the traditional foundations of the dish, they also highlight the diversity of flavors, ingredients, and regional influences that contribute to the rich tapestry of Spanish gastronomy.
What toppings are perfect for salmorejo soup?
Eggs and Serrano
Salmorejo soup, a beloved Spanish classic, welcomes a medley of toppings that enrich its flavors, textures, and aesthetics, transforming it into a harmonious culinary experience.
Rooted in tradition, the quintessential garnishes of hard-boiled eggs and jamón serrano grace the dish with their timeless appeal.
The creamy yolk of the eggs and the savory crispness of the ham form a delightful interplay with the smooth tomato base, offering a blend of tastes and textures that have delighted generations.
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, echoing the soup’s foundational ingredient, adds a luxurious touch. Toasted bread cubes or croutons, a nod to the dish’s bread component, contribute a satisfying crunch that harmonizes with the soup’s creamy consistency.
Onion and herbs
For those seeking a verdant twist, a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs like parsley, chives, or basil introduces a burst of color and an herbaceous undertone. Avocado slices, rich and buttery, establish a mild contrast against the tomato’s brightness, showcasing a combination that delights the palate.
Pickled red onions, with their tangy allure, offer a touch of acidity that plays against the sweetness of the tomatoes, while roasted red pepper strips supply a smoky note that echoes the sun-drenched origins of the dish.
Taking inspiration from the sea, succulent cooked shrimp or other seafood crown the soup with an air of indulgence, marrying their delicate brininess with the robust tomato base.
In the same vein, a scattering of chopped nuts or toasted seeds—almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds—unveils a layer of earthiness, introducing an unexpected textural harmony.
Ultimately, the art of selecting toppings for salmorejo soup resides in the artful balance of flavors, textures, and colors. Each garnish contributes to the symphony of sensations, transforming a humble bowl of soup into a masterpiece that honors tradition while embracing the spirit of culinary innovation.