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.