When you think about Spanish food, there’s a wide variety of dishes that are native to every region of the country.
However, when people visit the Southern Andalusian region, especially, Cordoba, the first thing that they think of is salmorejo. This amazing dish has been a popular meal in summer for hundreds of years.If you want to know more about the tasty salmorejo, you’re in for a treat! In the following article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about its history as well as its original recipe.
So without further ado, let’s dive in!
What is Salmorejo?
Salmorejo is a popular Spanish purée that’s served and eaten cold. It’s usually served as a side meal along with other dishes as a sauce. However, it can also be the main course due to some of its fulfilling ingredients.
One of the things that make salmorejo a very popular cultural dish that’s enjoyed in Spain and abroad is that it’s made of very simple, affordable, and readily available ingredients.
Not only that, but there are just a few ingredients, including tomatoes, bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar.
Even if you want to kick the dish up a notch, you’ll garnish it with slices of hard boiled eggs and/or diced Spanish Serrano ham. All that, makes it a great dish for beginners to try!
You might even find salmorejo sold as a ready-made soup, which is seen in supermarkets and sold in cartons like those of milk and orange juice.
However, it’ll only take you a single bite of the real dish to realize that these mass-produced versions are nowhere in comparison with the real deal!
The reason why these packs are available is that some people find peeling the tomatoes and dicing the ingredients too much effort.
The Health Benefits of Salmorejo
In addition to tasting amazing, salmorejo also has a lot of benefits for you. For starters, the star ingredients, tomatoes, have a lot of antioxidants (such as lycopene) as well as a decent amount of vitamin C.
Since it’s eaten cold, you’ll make sure that the vitamins in the tomatoes or other ingredients aren’t affected or broken down by excessive heat.
In addition to tomatoes, garlic is known as one of the best natural foods that support the health of your heart. It also helps you fight the common cold.
Moreover, olive oil, especially the premium quality ones, has a lot of vitamin E, which benefits hair and skin.
It also has healthy fatty acids, which are great for your brain health. The entire meal can be made to fit your diet and not add too many calories!
The Tasteful History of Salmorejo
The first versions of the plate were actually “Salmorejo Blanco”, which meant white salmorejo. That’s because it didn’t include tomatoes in them.
The dish remained native to Spain but unpopular until tomatoes were imported to Europe. The introduction of tomatoes quickly made Spain popular for its tomato purées, such as gazpacho, which became popular during the same time.
Are Salmorejo and Gazpacho the Same Thing?
Both dishes possess a lot of similarities in ingredients and they’re both served cold.
Moreover, they both originate from Spain, which is why, for some people, salmorejo and gazpacho might be the same thing.
However, they’re not. You can instead consider them close cousins. There are a few differences between salmorejo and gazpacho due to the process and a slight difference in ingredients as well as serving.
For example, salmorejo is known to have a more vibrant pink-orange color than the original recipe of gazpacho.
Since salmorejo usually includes more bread, It’s a lot thicker in texture. The extra addition of more olive oil also makes it creamier in terms of consistency. On the other hand, gazpacho uses a water-soaked loaf of bread, which makes the final soup runnier.
However, in some regions, there are slight variations in the recipe for both meals. This makes them technically the same in those places, which might be the reason behind this confusion.
How to Make Salmorejo the Classic Way
Now that you know more about Salmorejo and its history, it’s time to prepare it the right way.
Here’s the simple recipe to make this wonderful dish the classic way!
Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients
The first thing you’ll need for the recipe is your ingredients.
As you already know, they’re easy items that you’ll most likely have in your inventory. To prepare a dish of salmorejo you’ll need:
- 1 to 2 lbs of tomatoes, which is about 5 to 6 tomatoes. (Make sure they’re pretty ripe)
- 2 or 3 slices of day-old bread (Classically, “pan de telera, a dense bread with very white crumbs, is used. However, any similar bread would do.)
- 250 ml (quarter cup) of spanish olive oil
- 1 to 5 garlic clove as preferred
- Salt and vinegar
- Spanish serrano ham shavings and a hard-boiled egg (optional for garnish)
Step 2: Peel the Tomatoes’ Skin
Some people might use unskinned tomatoes for the recipe. However, if you want to follow the classic way of making salmorejo you should peel the skin.
The easiest way to make it is by marking an “X” on the tomatoes bottom and putting them in boiling water for about 5 to 10 seconds. This should make the peeling process a lot easier for you.
Step 3: Leave the Ingredients to Soak
Break the stale bread into crumbs and add them to a separate bowl. After that, cut the tomatoes to chunks and add them with their water to the bread. In classic recipes, you may even press down on the crumbs to get it mushed and soaked.
If you want to save time, you can add the bread crumbs along with tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and olive oil to the blender and let them soak for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Blend The Ingredients
When the ingredients are ready, start blending them at the highest speed for about a minute. Stop, and use wooden or silicone spoons to stir the mix then blend again for a minute.
You can continue this one-minute blend + stir until you close in to the perfect consistency. Once you’re one blend away, add your salt and blind for a final minute.
Step 5: Refrigerate the Dish
Salmorejo is served cold, so it should be refrigerated for about an hour or two before being served.
Step 6: Add the Topping Before Serving (Optional)
After you take the dish out for serving, you can add a chopped hard boiled egg and slices of serrano ham on top of the purée.
There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know about the popular Spanish dish salmorejo.
As you can see, it’s a perfect dish for summer days that’s quite easy to make.
Ideally, salmorejo can be prepared in less than 10 minutes and needs refrigeration for an hour or two to enjoy the ideal taste and consistency.
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