Salmorejo is a typical Spanish dish that is similar to Gazapacho, another famous Spanish food. It is a cold creamy soup from Cordoba, Andalusia
Salmorejo is a typical Spanish dish that is similar to Gazpacho, another famous Spanish food. It is a cold creamy soup that originated in Cordoba, Andalusia. Salmorejo soup is a refreshing Spanish dish that is often served on warm summer days.
Salmorejo, sometimes called ardoria in Andalusia, has several different variations such as white salmorejo, which does not contain tomatoes. Traditional salmorejo, however, is red-orange in color and is made up of tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and vinegar. The tomatoes are skinned and then beaten with the other ingredients until obtaining a thick puree. Traditionally a morter was used to create the creamy consistency but nowadays electric beaters are used.
Salmorejo differs to gazapacho in that it is thicker and creamier due to the additional amount of bread used and because the latter incorporates more vegetables such as onions, peppers and cucumbers.
Salmorejo is typically served cold as a first dish and is often garnished with Spanish ham or hard-boiled eggs. Occasionally salmorejo is served as a tapa or as a dipping or decorative sauce to accompany another food such as fried items, toast or tortilla española (Spanish omelet). A more recent trend in Spanish haute cuisine employs salmorejo to marinate raw meats and fish.
The origin of salmorejo, as we know it today, goes back to the late 19th, early 20th centuries when tomatoes, the last ingredient, were incorporated into the typical Spanish dish. However, the long process that led to that moment can be dated back to the beginning of culinary preparation, during the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods, when humans used rocks to grind and mash food. The Romans would later bring important advancements with the civilized use of wheat for bread and mortars for grinding. It was also common for Roman soldiers to drink a mixture of vinegar and water that was sometimes used to soften hard bread or to cover the taste of spoiled food.
By the mid-fifteenth century various historical references indicate that many different Spanish sauces and brines existed made from bread and vinegar, all representing primitive types of salmorejo. These traditional Spanish recipes were cheap to prepare and were popular among the lower classes which may have contributed to its relatively poor historical documentation.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World and many other things, such as the tomato, which would be imported into Spain. Bernal Díaz de Castillo was the first to describe the tomato which he said was used by the Indians in a soup that was similar to a popular traditional Andalusian dish called mazamorra, made up of bread, almonds, garlic, olive oil and vinegar.
The tomato slowly gained popularity in Andalusian cuisine and by the 17th and 18th century it was used mainly for its red color. However, despite the slow incorporation of the tomato in Spanish cuisine, salmorejo did not begin its transformation to its red color of today until the twentieth century when it was described by a culinary author as being a “mixture of bread crumbs soaked in vinegar water that is subsequently crushed with garlic in a mortar to which on holidays tomato or eggs are added”. It was slow transition, but salmorejo had finally incorporated tomatoes as a main ingredient and adopted its red color.
By the mid-sixties popular kitchen appliances would emerge eliminating the most laborious part of salmorejo preparation and eliminate the need for mortars and pestles. With these technological advancements, both salmorejo and gazapacho gained in popularity in the seventies. Today, both are recognized as traditional Spanish dishes and an integral part of Spanish cuisine.
Spanish Recipe Salmorejo
- 1 lb / 450 g tomatoes
- 1 / 2 clove(s) of garlic
- 2 oz / 50 g white bread
- 1-2 tbsp vinegar
- olive oil
- sea salt
- diced Serrano ham
- hard-boiled egg
Clean, skin and core tomatoes before liquefying them with a blender. Incorporate garlic, salt and vinegar. Soak bread with water until soggy and wring out excess liquid. Add half the bread to the mix and blend until smooth. Slowly incorporate remaining bread and olive oil into the mix and continue blending until reaching a smooth, creamy consistency. Chill the soup and serve in a shallow dish with a ham or egg garnish and fresh bread.