Salmorejo is a classic chilled Spanish soup that’s delicious, creamy, and a fabulous way to use up summer tomatoes and day-old bread! I had it for the first time in Barcelona and was hooked as soon as I tasted its tangy, velvety perfection. Because it’s an absolute breeze to put together and incredibly elegant, this Salmorejo recipe is often my first choice when throwing a summer dinner party, especially when I don’t want to spend loads of money or any time in a sweltering kitchen.
What Is Salmorejo?
Salmorejo is a traditional cold tomato soup from Spain. Traditionally, Salmorejo is garnished with a simple drizzle of olive oil but it can also be garnished with chopped hard-boiled eggs and ham. If you want to keep things plant-based, it’s also wonderful when garnished with diced strawberries, watermelon, and fresh summer basil. You can also garnish with chopped fresh zucchini and summer squash with Italian parsley.
What Is The Difference Between Gazpacho and Salmorejo?
Like Gazpacho, Salmorejo is made with ripe tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. The big difference is that the tomatoes are blended with day-old bread and then strained, giving this cold summer soup a velvety body and silky mouthfeel.
Ingredients For Salmorejo
It’s hilarious how excited I am to share this recipe with you! I love it so much I’m making 350 portions this coming week for a fancy food festival in Portland. Since the soup has just a few ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you get the best you can afford. Here’s what you’ll need to make Salmorejo:
- Tomatoes – are the base of this cold summer soup. Any tomato will do as long as it is flavorful and ripe. To create depth, I often blend different types like grape, cherry, plum, heirloom, and beefsteak tomatoes. I don’t recommend making this recipe if you don’t like tomatoes.
- Day-Old Crusty White Bread – adds body and texture to the soup. Use a Baguette, Ciabatta, Boule, or a Country Loaf. Don’t use sliced white or wheat bread, as the dough’s preservatives and stabilizers will make the soup gummy. If your bread is fresh, remove the crust, chop it into large cubes, put it in a sheet pan, and dry it in a 250°F oven for ten to fifteen minutes or until it hardens.
- Olive Oil -helps flavor the soup and creates its signature velvety mouth feel. If you don’t like how your olive oil tastes by itself, don’t use it in this recipe. With so few ingredients, there won’t be any way to mask the flavor. You can get fabulous olive oil at the grocery store on a budget. Just know what to look for: cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and packaged in a dark glass container or, better yet, a metal container. California Olive Ranch, Trader Joe’s, 365, Simple Truth, and Bertolli are wonderful budget-friendly choices.
- Vinegar – Adds a hit of acidity. Use rounder, softer vinegar like sherry, red wine, or apple cider. If your tomatoes are very tangy and acidic then skip the vinegar.
- Garlic – Adds loads of intense flavor. If you don’t like garlic, you can skip it, though the soup will taste flat. Try blending a tablespoon of raw onion into the soup instead.
Tips For Making Salmorejo
- Use ripe tomatoes. The riper the tomatoes, the sweeter and more flavorful the soup will be. Ripe tomatoes are fragrant, heavy for their size, and have firm flesh with a little give.
- Use day-old bread. Fresh bread will make your soup gummy, so dry it in a 250°F oven if necessary.
- Don’t over-blend the soup, which will make it gummy.
- Experiment with different garnishes. While a simple drizzle of olive oil or hard-boiled eggs and chopped ham are traditional, try garnishing with other summer produce. Salmorejo pairs well with strawberries, watermelon, avocado, zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers, and fresh herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Get creative and have fun!
What To Serve With Salmorejo
Salmorejo is incredible served with light summer salads like Creamy Cucumber Salad, Summer Sweet Corn Salad, and Panzanella. You can also serve it with heartier dishes like Tortellini Salad, Pasta Primavera, or Bruschetta Pasta.
How To Store Salmorejo
Store salmorejo in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can freeze salmorejo, but it will dull the flavor a touch. While it will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer, the longer it’s frozen, the more flavor it loses. The components will separate during freezing, so blend again before serving. Do not heat the soup to thaw it. Leave it on the counter or thaw for no more than two hours or let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Core the tomatoes by cutting them in quarters and removing the hard white center. Then chop them roughly. Roughly chop the garlic cloves. Add the vinegar to the water. Remove the crust from the bread and cut into large cubes.
- Place the water, tomatoes, garlic, and bread in a blender. Puree until smooth. Do not over-blend, as it will create a gummy texture. If working with a smaller blender, divide the ingredients in half and blend in batches.
- With the blender on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then season with salt. Blend for a second or two and, if necessary, add more salt to taste. Cover and chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve before plating. Use the back of a ladle to make quick work of it. Discard solids in the sieve.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and get ready to enjoy your new favorite summer soup!
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How to Make Salmorejo – Step by Step Photos
Core 3 pounds of tomatoes by cutting them in quarters and removing the hard white center. Then chop them roughly. Roughly chop 2 large garlic cloves. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of water. Remove the crust from the pound of crusty white bread and cut it into large cubes. If it’s fresh bread, toast the cubes in a 250°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until it hardens.
Place the vinegar water, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, and cubed bread in a blender. Puree until smooth. Do not over-blend, as it will create a gummy texture. If working with a smaller blender, divide the ingredients in half and blend in batches.
With the blender on low speed, slowly drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil, then season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Blend for a second or two and, if necessary, add more salt to taste. Cover and chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve and into a large bowl before plating. Use the back of a ladle to make quick work of it. Discard the solids in the sieve.
Finally, plate the Salmorejo, garnish with a drizzle of the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and get ready to enjoy your new favorite summer soup! It’s optional, but I love to also garnish my Salmorejo with a chopped, hard-boiled egg and sliced ham. You can also garnish with chopped fresh summer produce like bell peppers, zucchini, strawberries, watermelon, and fresh herbs like basil and Italian parsley.