We've all heard of gazpacho, and tried versions of it that range from delicious to bland-Mexican-salsa style. It never ceases to surprise me, however, how many people are still strangers to salmorejo. It's easiest to think about it as the sexy cousin of gazpacho, but as you get to know it better, you realize it has wayyyy more to offer than kinship to some famous soup. Salmorejo originates in the Southern town of Córdoba, whose surroundings produce some of Spain's best olive oil, jamón, sherry, and tomatoes—basically, the ingredients of this summery soup.
I can't urge you enough to whip some up while summer is still around. The whole process of making salmorejo comprises about five minutes of involved kitchen time. So, simple! However, as with most simple things, the devil is in the details.
- First of all...the better your tomatoes, bread and olive oil, the better your salmorejo. This is one dish worthy of a trip to the farmer's market or Whole Foods...it's only three main ingredients, so choose wisely.
- Avoid highly flavored, bitter olive oil. Or use it only to garnish. For the soup you want a mild, extra-virgin oil.
- Depending on how perfect you want the texture of your salmorejo, you can pass the finished product through a sieve or peel (and/or seed) the tomatoes first.
- Just when you think it's finished blending, let it blend another minute.
- Local wives' tales say to take out the center of the garlic clove. Supposedly that will stop garlic-related indigestion.
- If you want to up the creamy factor in your salmorejo, try adding a hard-boiled yolk or two. That's why theirs is creamier than yours. I don't always do this, but it's a nifty trick.
• 6-8 tomatoes
• 1 baguette, day old if possible
• small clove of garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• generous drizzle of sherry vinegar
• 6 eggs
• cured Spanish jamón ibérico
Peel the tomatoes and cut into pieces. Combine in a blender with the bread, also cut into pieces with crust removed, and garlic. Allow to soak for ten minutes. Blend until homogenous, then add the vinegar, salt to taste, and olive oil. Blend again until beautifully creamy. Refrigerate.
Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil. Add the eggs and boil for exactly 9 minutes. Allow to cool, peel and chop. Slice the jamón into thin, short strips and garnish the soup with the egg, ham, and a splash of vinegar.