Monday, July 18th, 2011

Salmorejo (Or: Gazpacho Con Carbohydrates)

Gazpacho is delicious, but sometimes it just involves too many greens, and not enough bread. Luckily, the Spanish already invented a carb-and-oil based version: salmorejo (sal-mo-RAY-ho), an invention from Cordoba, Andalusia. Using day-old bread and hard-boiled eggs, it’s designed to tie up loose ends at the end of the week, when the groceries are running out and no one feels like cooking anything. The best part: it only requires preparation and a refrigerator, no heat. Perfect for a midsummer meal.

I emailed my former host mother and amazing Cordoban cook, Marta, for her recipe. She replied:

“Tomate, sal, vinagre, aceite de olivo y pan duro… y mezcla!”

Translation: Tomato, salt and vinegar, olive oil and stale bread… and mix it!

But doesn’t she know I’m writing this for a blog? No matter. I did get her to elaborate on the amounts of each ingredient, and cross-checked the process with this recipe. This makes a LOT of salmorejo (6-8 servings).

Begin by cutting up a baguette. You can really use any stale or hardened white bread for this, and you don’t even have to cut it. Tear away, if you please. If you want to be exact about it this is about 7 oz of bread.

Next, cut up some tomatoes. You can see that I am not cutting them very nicely or efficiently, and that they do not have to be peeled. (You don't have to cut them at all, really, if you have a massive food processor.)

Set your tomatoes aside. Measure out one cup of water and a tiiiiny splash of vinegar. Pour the mixture over a bowl containing the bread pieces and stir so everything gets nice and coated. Let soak for 10 minutes.

Time for the wet ingredients. Mix some olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt in with the tomatoes. If you prefer more garlic, go ahead! Some less? No problem!

Now you should have two separate bowls—wet tomato bowl and soaked bread bowl. Mix those suckers together!

Now pour the tomato and bread mixture into your food processor. Press “grind” like 5 million times and then alternate between “chop” and “grind” because you’ll probably get bored. Pause for a second if you can smell the blades from your food processor starting to heat up. Don’t worry, that means it’s working. Keep grinding until texture is silky-smooth. It should have the same texture as a squash soup.

Refrigerate the final soup for 4 hours or until completely chilled. This would be a good time to make the hard-boiled eggs that go on top, if you haven’t yet.

Put hard-boiled eggs and Serrano ham (I used prosciutto) on top, and enjoy.

Ultimately, Marta had it right—you really can just mix all of the ingredients, of approximate amounts, together in a food processor. It’s meant to be easy, so just dump a bunch of stuff in a bowl and process it up! Serve with Spanish tortilla and sangria sorbet, or use it as dip…for more bread.

15 Comments / Post A Comment

jfruh (#713)


jfruh (#713)

@jfruh Dear Emily Morris,

I'm sorry I posted a comment that consisted entirely of the words "GO BACK TO RUSSIA" on your "Salmorejo" post on the Awl.

Have you ever seen the "Lisa the Vegetarian" episode of the Simpsons? It's pretty much my favorite; I think the jokes are great, and that the central theme — about reconciling your ideals with a society that doesn't necessarily share them — is handled deftly. There's a scene where Homer is having a huge cookout, and Lisa comes downstairs with a bowl and says, "Good news, everyone! You don't have to eat meat! I've made gazpacho!" There's a beat of silence, and then she says "It's tomato soup, served ice cold!" Everyone starts laughing, and then Barney shouts "Go back to Russia!" (Is he confusing gazpacho and borscht, or conflating communism and vegetarianism? Or both? I've never been able to decide.)

Having seen this episode a bunch of times, I'm pretty much hard-wired to at least mutter that phrase under my breath whenever gazpacho is mentioned, so when this post came up in my RSS reader, I scanned the title and text, added that comment, and then went downstairs to eat dinner.

Now that I've returned and actually read your post, I feel really bad about this. You obviously put a lot of work into the piece and the recipe; it's engagingly written and looks really appetizing. Plus, it's got ham in it! The reference doesn't even fit! And am I really the kind of guy who just throws out out-of-context Simpsons quotes hoping for a cheap laugh? I'm 37, for God's sake. It's embarassing.

I know that if I ever wrote anything for the Awl, I'd be very anxious about the comments I'd get, hoping for something positive or at least constructive. Your post deserved better than what I gave it. I look forward to your future posts.


jfruh (#713)

@jfruh Also: Dear Dave Bry, I'm sorry I ripped off your "Public Apology" schtick while apologizing to Emily. Sincerely, jfruh.

Emily Morris (#14,069)


It's all good, buddy.


Add a small chunk of thumb to taste.

Ooooh, we've been invited to a "country house" next weekend – I know what we're bringing along with some wine+sherry+tonic punch (haha, I just recipe-jacked your comment thread!). I was thinking about putting sherry into the soup? But then maybe it would be better to macerate a tomato-and-pepper relish in some sherry vinegar, and stir that in along with the egg (all-veg country house after all).

norrin (#17,630)

@jfruh. You wanna start a Simpsons quote battle?

Homer: Look kids! I just got my party invitiations back from the printers.
Lisa: [reading the invitation] "Come to Homer's BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOBB."
Bart: What's that extra B for?
Homer: It's a typo.

collier (#13,548)

I can't even tell you how much I love these recipes. "Then, do xyz. Or not, whatever. It's cool."

barnhouse (#1,326)

Oh yum. I make mine very much like this, but my recipe also calls for some cucumber and green pepper. Also, maybe this is fussy (?) but I skin and seed the tomatoes and cucumber? It would certainly be easier not to. Anyways now I am starving.


FYI, Alice Waters has a great tip on peeling tomatoes in her Gazpacho recipe in Art of Simple Food – cut them in half and grate on the "medium" side of a box grater. The skin doesn't grate, so you end up with good pulp. To seed this pulp, you can run it through a mesh strainer, but if you're going to puree the pulp anyway (and aren't allergic to nightshades), I'd just leave the seeds in.

arnoldramos37 (#17,799)

Now i will know how to make it perfect!

sigerson (#179)

Nice recipe but it has NOTHING on my latest invention: gazpadka. (or vodkapacho, which is not my preferred locution). Which is basically gazpacho with vodka added. Kind of like a thicker, soup-ier version of a bloody mary. YUM!

Cameron Hardesty (#9,852)

For my money, the best salmorejo in the world is at El Caballo Rojo. Conveniently, they have a recipe on their website. It looks a lot like yours!

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