Salmorejo is a Spanish cold tomato soup with a smooth and creamy texture. It can either be eaten as a light meal, or served as a starter or appetizer. Salmorejo is a chilled and refreshing dish, it’s perfect to serve on a hot summer day. Traditionally, salmorejo is made with just a handful of fresh produce ingredients like ripe tomatoes, good quality olive oil, garlic and white bread. It is then topped off with hard boiled egg and Spanish cured ham.
what is salmorejo?
If you’ve ever visited Spain, you’ve probably seen salmorejo soup on almost any restaurant menu. However, it isn’t only popular in Spanish restaurants as it is also on the menu in many Spanish households. The reason for its popularity over other Spanish soups is that the recipe for salmorejo is easy to make with just a few cheap local ingredients and is very refreshing for those hot Spanish summer months.
This creamy cold Spanish soup originates from Andalusia which is in the southern part of Spain, and more specifically, the city of Córdoba, hence its popular name salmorejo cordobés. Similar to its popular cousin, gazpacho, which also originates from Andalusia, the popularity of both soups from Spain has spread over the whole country.
Gazpacho however is still more popular outside of Spain, but, what is the main difference?
Salmorejo vs gazpacho
Many people will have heard about and have probably also eaten gazpacho at some point which is often referred to simply as ‘a cold tomato soup from Spain’.
So, is there any difference between gazpacho and salmorejo? They both differ in ingredients, texture and taste.
Gazpacho is in fact a cold vegetable soup, containing mainly tomatoes, but also peppers, cucumbers, onion and garlic which is blended into a light soup. The consistency is often more liquid so it can be either drank out of a glass as a refreshing vegetable drink, or served as a soup in a bowl.
Here’s how to make authentic gazpacho.
On the other hand, salmorejo consists mainly out of tomatoes and bread which is blended into a very smooth and creamy consistency. The addition of bread is what makes salmorejo significantly thicker, but is also what gives it a more orange colour when compared with gazpacho. Salmorejo is served in a bowl as it is too thick and creamy to drink and is garnished with cured ham and hard boiled egg.
So both soups contain similar ingredients, but are in fact unique and delicious by themselves.
Which ingredients to use
- Tomatoes: To make a good and tasty salmorejo, use very ripe and ‘meaty’ tomatoes. Both Roma and vine tomatoes are great options to use.
- Bread: In southern Spain they use ‘pan de telera’, a white oval shaped bread from Andalusia to make authentic salmorejo. As an alternative, you can use any thin crusted white bread, like regular sandwich/toaster bread.
- Olive oil: As olive oil is an important ingredient, do use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to obtain the best flavour.
- Garlic: As with most Spanish food dishes, garlic is an indispensable ingredient to make salmorejo.
- Vinegar: Adding a splash of vinegar intensifies the taste of the soup. Use a good quality sherry, red or white wine vinegar.
Optional garnish ingredients
- Eggs: Hard boiled eggs are used to garnish the soup before serving.
- Cured ham: Use finely diced cured ham, such as Serrano or Iberico to garnish.
How to make Salmorejo cordobés
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This cold Spanish tomato soup has a smooth, silky and creamy consistency which is obtained by removing the peel and seeds of the tomatos. There are 2 ways of doing this, which are both described below. Just choose what works best for you.
- Prepare the tomatoes:
Remove the hard core and roughly chop the tomatoes. Put them in a blender or food processor and blend on high for 30 seconds. Transfer the blended tomatoes to a mesh strainer and catch the juice in a separate bowl. Make sure to push through and catch all the tomato purée until only the seeds and peels are left in the sieve. Pour the tomato juice back in to the blender.
- Soak the bread:
Add the bread to the tomato juice in the blender and let it soak for a couple of minutes in the liquid.
- Blend all the ingredients:
Add the garlic, salt and vinegar and start blending first at low speed and slowly increase to medium/high speed. Slowly pour in the olive oil while blending. Don’t pour in all the oil at once as it needs time to slowly emulsify. Leave to blend for a few minutes on medium to high speed until the salmorejo gets a creamy and relatively thick consistency.
- Chill before serving:
Salmorejo tastes so much nicer when served chilled, so leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
The 2nd method of removing the seeds and peels of the tomatoes is to do so before blending.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Cut a shallow X shape at the bottom of each tomato and place gently in the boiling water. Leave to boil for 20 seconds. Carefully take the tomatoes out of the boiling water with a spoon or soup ladle and start peeling them with a paring knife. The skin will come off quite easily. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove the seeds. Place in the blender and blend into a juice for 30 seconds. Then continue with step 2 of method 1.
How to serve
Salmorejo can be served as a light lunch dish or as an appetizer. In Spain it is often part of a menu, or menu del día as a first course.
This cold tomato soup is best served chilled, although I personally don’t mind eating it right after making the soup. But that is personal choice. Traditionally, this cold Spanish soup is served with hard boiled egg and slices of Spanish cured ham. Roughly chop the eggs and finely slice or chop the cured ham.
Serve the salmorejo soup in a small bowl after adding a bit of garnish to each serving. Add some Spanish tomato bread to accompany the dish.
How to store
If you have leftover salmorejo soup or you made it in advance, just put it in an airtight container with a closed lid and leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I personally would not freeze this tomato soup as the whole point of this salmorejo recipe is to make soup with fresh and raw ingredients. I assume you can freeze this, but I have never tried to before, so I don’t know how fresh and in what consistency it will be once thawed.
More Spanish recipes to try
- Spanish chorizo and chickpea stew
- Champignones al ajillo or garlic mushrooms
- Grilled Spanish Padrón peppers
- Feta stuffed Padrón peppers
- Chorizo in red wine
- One pot Spanish rice with tomatoes and chorizo
Salmorejo – Spanish cold tomato soup
- 2 pounds (or 900 grams) ripe tomatoes cored and roughly chopped
- 3 slices white bread chopped
- ⅓ cup (or 80 ml) olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 hard-boiled eggs finely chopped
- Serrano ham or any other cured ham finely chopped
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and put them in a blender. Blend thoroughly into a liquid purée for at least 30 seconds.2 pounds (or 900 grams) ripe tomatoes
- Transfer the blended tomatoes in to a fine sieve or mesh strainer and push the purée through, ensuring the peel and seeds are left behind in the sieve.
- Put the tomato liquid back in to the blender and add the bread. Leave to soak for 5 minutes.3 slices white bread
- Add the garlic, salt and sherry vinegar and start blending. First on low speed, then slowly to medium high speed. While blending, slowly pour in the olive oil and leave to blend until the oil has completely emusified and the soup has a creamy consistency. This might take about 3-5 minutes of blending at medium speed.1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅓ cup (or 80 ml) olive oil
- Place in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Serve cold in small bowls and garnish with finely chopped hard-boiled eggs and sliced Serrano ham.2 hard-boiled eggs, Serrano ham or any other cured ham
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