Salmorejo is a thick, hearty soup that might change how you feel about gazpacho in general.
When it comes to cuisine, Andalusia is best known as the birthplace of tapas—but there’s so much more to savor across the eight provinces that comprise this vast region in southern Spain. After all, Andalusia encompasses mountain ranges, wide open countryside, and two different coastlines. And with ingredients and techniques learned from the Moors, Romans, Greeks, and more, the culinary traditions here are as varied as the landscapes themselves.
Historians are unclear as to the origins of gazpacho in Andalusia, but they do know that it didn’t start with the tomato. Instead, its inspiration came from soups made with bread and olive oil. If your idea of gazpacho resembles either a cold tomato soup or a watered-down salsa, you’ve never tried the Andalusian version. Tomatoes weren’t added until the 19th century, and some recipes today don’t use them at all, relying instead on grapes, cucumber, avocado, or watermelon.
Salmorejo is a thicker, heartier gazpacho variety from the city of Cordoba, and it celebrates a few classic Andalusian ingredients: olive oil, sherry vinegar, and aged serrano ham. While the highly coveted jamon iberico is also produced in Andalusia, dry-aged from acorn-fed pigs, it’s best enjoyed unadulterated at the tapas bar. Less expensive serrano—or even prosciutto, if it’s all you can find—is perfectly adequate in recipes.
- 2 cups water, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 cups (packed) coarsely torn crusty, day-old bread (about 4 ounces)
- 10 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1/3 cup onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups lightly flavored extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped Serrano ham or prosciutto (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- Fruity Spanish olive oil (for drizzling)
- Stir salt into water in a medium bowl to dissolve. Add bread; soak 30 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from bread and reserve soaking liquid.
- Puree half each of tomatoes, onion, vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic in blender until very smooth. With machine running, gradually add half of bread, adding reserved soaking liquid a tablespoon at a time if mixture is too thick to blend. Puree until very smooth.
- With machine running, gradually add half of light extra-virgin olive oil (mixture will turn slightly orange). Transfer to large bowl.
- Repeat with remaining tomatoes, onion, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, garlic, bread, and oil. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Season to taste with salt.
- Divide soup among small bowls. Sprinkle chopped egg and ham over. Drizzle with fruity olive oil and serve.
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