Salmorejo

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    ; makes about 4 cups

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

In Baena, the summer soup called salmorejo is king! It’s a smooth, thick, almost foamy cold tomato soup, a variation on gazpacho with a small amount of water and far fewer vegetables, heightened by the taste of a quality extra virgin olive oil and a shock of fine sherry wine vinegar.

Salmorejo has become so popular you now find it served throughout Spain. The following recipe is from the American chef Richard Stephens, chef-owner of the restaurant La Gamella in Madrid. He follows the cardinal rule of the dish: the tomatoes must not only be ripe, they must also be aromatic; and the soup must be left overnight to rest so the flavor will properly develop.

This rich, salmon-pink soup is garnished with ribbons of serrano ham and cubed whites of hard-cooked eggs, creating a stunningly beautiful visual contrast.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red ripe, meaty, and juicy tomatoes
  • 3 cups cubed stale crustless bread
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Coarse salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • cup cubed green or red (bell) pepper
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons aged sherry wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • cup thinly slivered cured ham, preferably Spanish serrano ham
  • 2 hard-cooked egg whites, finely diced

Method

  1. One at a time, pierce the stem end of a tomato with a long fork and hold over a high flame to char all over until the skin blisters, or sear in a dry cast-iron skillet. Cool, then peel. Cut a slice off the top of each tomato, scoop out the watery seeds, and strain over a bowl to collect the juices. Discard the seeds. Cut up the tomatoes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the bread and let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Crush the garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Add to the tomatoes and bread along with the sugar and bell pepper. Puree the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. If necessary, add a little water. The soup must be very thick and smooth. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a steady stream to form a very thick soup, the consistency of yogurt. Add the vinegar. Whirl the soup on the highest setting until it becomes foamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture back into the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  4. To serve, thin with ice-cold water to a thick creamy soup. Correct the seasoning. Ladle into small soup bowls and garnish with the ham and egg whites. Serve cold.