Salmorejo Cordobés

salmorejo cordobés

Salmorejo is a cold tomato soup from Córdoba in Spain. The soup is thought to date back to the time of the Romans. Roman soldiers drank a mixture of water and wine vinegar flavoured with herbs (and sometimes salt or honey), called posca. Stale bread and garlic were often added to posca to produce a porridge like soup. This porridge is probably the origin of ajoblanco, gazpacho and salmorejo. After the Romans, the Moors in Adalucía definitely ate a bread soup of vinegar, water, garlic, oil and salt, ground to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle. Obviously salmorejo started off as a white soup, since tomatoes didn’t arrive in Europe until after Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492.

tomatoes

Salmorejo is a perfect cold soup for a hot and humid day. No cooking is required and the dish contains a minimum of ingredients. In Spain tomatoes practically grow like weeds and in the hot weather bread goes stale in a couple of hours. It’s normal to buy a barra de pan (baguette) in the morning and another in the evening – the first one turns to stone by about 5pm, hence there’s always stale bread needing to be used up. I’ve looked through lots of recipes and almost all of them seem to be identical, so there can be no doubts about how to make it.

Salmorejo recipe (makes 1 litre):

1kg soft ripe tomatoes
200g stale bread
1 clove garlic (finely chopped and crushed with the back of the knife)
200ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
sea salt

Garnish:

virutas de jamón (shavings of Spanish air dried ham)
hard boiled egg (chopped)
croutons
basil leaves
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

stale bread

The bread to use for salmorejo is pan de telera, but since this comes from Córdoba, a stale white baguette would be the next best thing. As you can see, I used stale wholemeal sourdough – which might perhaps be more like the bread of the Romans, but regardless it worked well.

stale bread cubed

Remove the crusts, break up or cube the bread.

bread soaking

Soak in water, with a pinch of salt, for half an hour.

blended tomatoes

Salmorejo is a smooth and creamy soup in texture,

tomato seeds

so there should be no tomato seeds or skin. I’ve tried blanching, peeling and de-seeding, but it’s actually far easier to liquidise the tomatoes and then put the liquid through a sieve.

sieved tomatoes

Push the juice through a strainer or chinois with the back of a wooden spoon.

pulp

Within a minute or two you’ll have all the pulp separated out. Do use it for stock.

salmorejo

Return the tomato to the liquidiser with the bread (water squeezed out), a pinch of salt (to taste), garlic and sherry vinegar. Blend and when the liquid looks smooth, drizzle in the olive oil. Chill before serving.

salmorejo con virutas de jamón

Decorate the salmorejo with chopped, hard boiled egg, virutas de jamón, croutons, a trickle of olive oil and a few basil leaves (optional). Virutas de jamón are shavings of air dried ham – it’s normal to have a leg of ham in a Spanish family kitchen. The finest cuts are served as a starter in their own right and the end pieces can be chopped up for cooking or shaved for soups. A chopped slice of jamón serrano or Prosciutto is equally good.  The silky smooth soup cools you down on a hot day, while the salty ham melts in your mouth.

Serve with a glass of chilled Fino sherry.

I had an excellent salmorejo in Ibèrik’s last year, seasoned with a little cumin – it was so good that I went back for more a couple of weeks later!

About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
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9 Responses to Salmorejo Cordobés

  1. TammyRenea says:

    Love this soup! I’ll be at the farmer’s market this weekend to get the tomatoes to make it. Thanks so much for the recipe and the history!

  2. Eha says:

    Well, no hot weather here as yet nor the beginning of the next season’s tomato harvest. But the daily bushfire logistics tables have resurfaced in the media much to the worry of all. Am not particularly concerned since there has been rain in most areas and the bush has not had time to regenerate from the disasters of the last season . . . Would be hard to take fighting the second wave of the virus . . .The soup is refreshing and sounds like an updated form of passata . . . would need the eggs, ham et al to make a full meal tho’ . . .Have to laugh about the bread . . . Lord knows how ours gets doctored but my loaves stay pristine fresh’ for a week . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha – sadly it’s the wrong time of year for you. Like gazpacho and ajoblanco, salmorejo can be served as a starter and sometimes, just in a small glass – it’s often offered to cool people down, when they arrive for a lunch or dinner.

  3. Ron says:

    What an interesting link you gave is to better understand posca. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted it, but will soon. With this warm spell we having both the posca and your lovely Salmorejo Cordobés would be welome. I do remember the lovely lunch at Ibèrik’s where you had that bowl of salmorejo. Now, I can taste the dish without having to go to Spain. Although, Spain is still high on our travel bucket list…

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Ron – I haven’t tried posca either, though I suspect salmorejo tastes better. I believe the gentry looked down on posca drinking, as it was made with off wine (vinegar), but the generals would drink it to show solidarity with their men. Regardless, it’s inexpensive to make, so I should give it a try! Salmorejo can be made in bulk and will keep for several days in the fridge, which is handy for a quick glass on the hottest of days. Don’t drink it too fast, it can give you a headache like ice cream.

  4. Karen says:

    I think I may have had this when we lived in Santo Domingo but without the virutas de jamón. The restaurant served it with very tiny pieces of toasted bread. It was such a refreshing treat after a walk in the colonial zone.

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