Salmorejo comes from the south of Spain, particularly the Córdoba region. It is a simple cold raw soup of tomato and garlic, thickened with bread. There are plenty of Spanish recipes that use bread, it was a way of not wasting food way back when and also in a hot climate ingredients that add creaminess (such as cream) were expensive or non existent. It is best if the bread is stale (bread gone hard from the day before or even a few days old) and the tomatoes are ripe but still firm. Please do not buy those tasteless salad tomatoes for this dish, the tomatoes really do need to have flavour. If you can smell them then they will have the taste, after all the tomato is central to this dish. I am listing this as being 1-2 servings because as per the photo you can have this as a main dish, or you can make 2 tapas or starters out of the amounts listed.
Traditionally Salmorejo is served with egg and serrano ham, however when ordering this at any tapas restaurant you need to specify for the ham to be left out if you are vegetarian. Usually you will be offered tuna as a replacement but you can have it with just the egg. I also insist in mentioning that using organic eggs is much better than other eggs even if they are a little pricier. Not only will the hens have been fed organic food, but they will also be able to roam freely as much as possible. You can find these eggs in Spanish supermarkets listed as ‘huevos ecológicos‘.
Vegan friends may be wondering why I have listed this as vegan when it contains eggs, but the reason is that the soup itself is vegan. You can choose to garnish with eggs or not, just like this vegetarian version chooses not to garnish with serrano ham. A good alternative would be to crumble in some firm tofu instead, and the recipe can stay virtually the same. More information can be found in the method section below.
There are many variations of Salmorejo that vary from place to place. For example if you chuck in a green pepper then you have something called ‘Porra Antequerana‘, which is comes from a town called Antequera in Málaga. Not all places serve it with serrano ham, some serve it with tuna. There are also variations that include fruits such as strawberries instead of tomatoes and are more of a gourmet thing…the combination of salty, garlic and the spiciness it gives and sweet from a fruit really does work very well. You can also use some balsamic vinegar if you like. The essence of it which is a cold soup with good quality Mediterranean ingredients is all that matters.
- 400g ripe tomatoes (approx 3)
- 50g stale bread (75g if fresh)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1 organic egg
- a piece of melon or apple
- 0.5 tsp salt
- Place an egg in a pan with cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water starts boiling turn off the heat and allow to stand for about 10-15 minutes. The egg needs to be hard boiled.
- While the egg is cooking place the bread broken into pieces with your hands in a bowl with cold water. If the bread is stale it will need about 5-10 minutes to soak up, if it is fresh then a couple of minutes will do.
- Add the tomatoes to a large bowl and cover with boiling water from a kettle. Leave to stand for a minute and then discard the water and you can easily peel the tomatoes. Discard the skins and chill them until it is time to make the Salmorejo. It is best to chill to at least room temperature because Salmorejo is served at room temperature or slightly cold, never warm.
- When these elements are ready it is time to make the Salmorejo. Add the whole tomatoes and garlic to a blander and blend until it is fully liquid. You can test the strength of the garlic at this stage, and add some more if you like it spicier.
- Drain the bread and squeeze with your hands to remove excess water. Add to the tomatoes with the oil, apple cider vinegar and salt.
- Blend until smooth and homogenous. Depending on your blender you may need to sieve it. Salmorejo has a lovely and smooth consistency without any chunks. I use my Nutribullet for this which works just fine.
- Peel and finely dice the egg.
- Finely dice the apple or melon.
- Assemble by decanting the Salmorejo onto a deep plate, add the egg and melon/apple on top, garnish with some parsley and drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Making this dish vegan is as easy as replacing the egg with firm tofu or smoked tofu (your choice). Simply crumble this on top or finely dice it and follow the rest of the steps as provided.
High protein version
- To make this high in protein (if for example you are exercising and want to cut carbs) you can simply replace the bread with firm tofu and keep it 100% vegan. This does not affect the flavour as tofu is pretty tasteless anyway but will add the same creaminess and consistency that bread does. You can read all about it in a guest blog on Vegan Salmorejo I did for The Muscle Bakery who specialises in delicious high protein and healthy recipes.