Around the World – Spain – Salmorejo Cordobés

Ask anyone to name a cold tomato soup from Spain, and the reply will be gazpacho. However, salmorejo is a fantastic thick tomato soup from Córdoba that is eaten cold too.

I don’t know exactly what happened the past couple of weeks, but I made a lot of food that was entirely out of sync with the weather outside. Sunny, 28-30℃ outside and I am making Mac n’ Cheese and hearty risottos. Raining, 16℃ outside and I am making cold tomato soup… Oh well.

Gazpacho is a lovely dish, but I think that the Salmorejo Cordobés is more satisfying and as easy to make. All you need is 5 basic ingredients and a blender.

Salmorejo @ San Telmo
Salmorejo Cordobés @ Vinería San Telmo (Paseo de Catalina de Ribera, 4 Sevilla)

As you may derive from the name, this dish hails from Córdoba in central Andalusia and is a staple on the local menus. It seems (sub)regional though: in Sevilla, about 150km / 100 miles to the west, we commonly found it. However, towards Málaga, about 150km / 100 miles to the south, we rarely saw it and when we ordered salmorejo in Ronda, about 75km / 50 miles west from Malaga, we got served a potato salad… At first, we thought it was due to our poor Spanish, but it was also on mentioned on the bill as such, without the cordobés suffix…

salmorejo @ amrita ecija
A fancy salmorejo @Restaurante Amrita (Calle Emilio Castelar Antes Caballeros, 13 Écija), with crumbs of crispy jamón Iberico and olive oil ice cream

I based this recipe from a Youtube clip where a granny from Córdoba was filmed preparing – from what I understood – her family recipe in an incredibly tiny kitchen and under 6 minutes! It was clear from the clip that measurements were mainly “to taste” so I started experimenting. It indeed depends on the quality of the tomatoes and olive oil and type of vinegar used, but the measurements below brought us straight back to Spain.

The Recipe (serves 6):

IMG_2542

  • 1 kg / 2¼ pound ripe tomatoes (quartered) or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 40ml / 1¼oz of white wine vinegar
  • 125ml / ½ cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g / 7oz of stale white bread soaked in 250ml / 1 cup of water
1. Put the tomatoes and garlic in a blender and blitz for 1 minute
IMG_2545
2. Squeeze all water out of the soaked bread and add it together with the vinegar to the blender and blitz for another minute. Make sure that there is a mini-vortex in the middle. If not, take out half the quantity and do the next step in 2 batches
IMG_2546
3. Keep the blender on and add the appropriate measure of olive oil in a small trickle (in about 45 seconds, the soup will emulsify very quickly). Turn off the blender, taste and season with salt, pepper and more vinegar if needed and blitz briefly to combine.
IMG_2548
4. Transfer to your fridge and cool for at least 2 hours
salmorejo @ home
5. Typically salmorejo cordobés is served with strips of jamón Iberico, but it also delicious without the ham. For a vegetarian version, serve with a swirl of good quality extra virgin oil and some chopped hardboiled egg. We have seen some served with finely chopped green bell pepper as well.

¡Buen provecho!

One thought on “Around the World – Spain – Salmorejo Cordobés

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