Salmorejo is gazpacho’s sassier cousin. Both soups originate in Andalucia, but while gazpacho is well-known outside of Spain, salmorejo hasn’t gained as much fame beyond the borders. That’s a shame because it’s thicker, richer, and deeper in flavour than it’s more famous cousin, and it’s also more delicious (in my opinion). While gazpacho is a combination of tomato, green pepper, cucumber, bread, olive oil, and vinegar; salmorjeo is much simpler, consisting of just tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar.
As with any recipe where the ingredients are raw, the quality of the ingredients you select for the soup is highly important and makes the difference between an exceptional salmorejo and a mediocre one. Select the ripest tomatoes and a high-quality olive oil that has a mild taste. Some olive oils are quite peppery and would overpower the delicate balance of flavours in this dish, so it’s a good idea to taste a little of your oil first.
Traditionally prepared salmorejo is extremely thick, sometimes resembling more a dip rather than a soup. You can adjust the consistency to your taste: if you find it too thick, add a little more olive oil or water, if you find it too thin (probably not), add a little more bread. Salmorjeo is traditionally garnished with a hard-boiled egg and Serrano ham, but variations exist and there are no hard and fast rules. I’ve made mine vegetarian by replacing the ham with green pepper. Enjoy this soup for lunch on a hot summer afternoon, or as a starter to a great dinner.
- 1 kg tomatoes, seeded
- 200 grams day-old white bread, torn into pieces
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 cup olive oil
- 5 teaspoons sherry vinegar (adjust to taste)
- 3 teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- green pepper, diced
- Place the tomatoes and garlic in the blender and blend until the tomatoes are completely broken down. Begin adding in the bread little by little as you blend. Pour in the olive oil, vinegar, and salt as you continue to blend all of the remaining bread. The soup should be extremely thick, but you can adjust the consistency to your taste by adding more oil or a little water. Chill the soup and garnish with the egg, green pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve cold with some extra bread for dipping.