Salmorejo (cold Spanish tomato soup)

Salmorejo (cold Spanish tomato soup)

An alternative to gazpacho, this traditional cold soup captures the intense flavor of ripe tomatoes perfectly. You can make this in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. I get the best results using a traditional blender, but if you're not as fixated on getting a smooth, seed-free soup as I am, any one of these will work well enough.
6 servings
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3 pounds ripe tomatoes, like beefsteaks

1 TBL sherry vinegar

½ cup oil

1 to 3 average-sized cloves of garlic

4-inch chunk of baguette or 2 slices of a rustic white bread

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Clean and cut in half (on the “equator”)

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, like beefsteaks

Season to taste with

  • salt
  • finely ground black pepper

And place on an oiled baking tray ATTN that has closed sides, such as a sheet pan. Place in the 375º F oven and let bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a

  • 4-inch piece of baguette or 2 slices of a rustic white bread

in a large drinking glass or a soup bowl. Add tepid water and soak the bread for 5+ minutes to it is totally soft; if it has a hard crust, it might take longer. Squeeze out the bread gently if it’s really gotten soggy.

The original recipe calls for 2 cloves of raw garlic, which are to be chopped up a bit and then added to the blender. With the raw garlic, I found that one clove was enough. I have decided that I prefer the taste of cooked garlic, so what I do is as follows:

In a small saucepan, place

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

and over a medium-low heat, let the garlic cook until it starts to show some color and the oil is fragrant. Let cool.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool enough that they are easily handled. Working over the tray or the food processor bowl (so you don’t lose the juice) ATTN remove the peels and cores, discarding them. If you leave on the peels you are going to probably end up with an unpleasant collection of rolled tomato skins throughout the soup. Ew!

Run the food processor to break up the pulp fully, run it through a strainer so you’re mostly left with the seeds. Working in batches, return the pulp to the blender (or food processor), and add the oil, garlic (raw or cooked, to taste), soaked bread and

  • 1 TBL sherry vinegar

Run for a minute to let the mixture emulsify completely. Check the seasoning, as it will probably need more vinegar, salt and/or pepper. As it is usually served chilled, I suggest you adjust the seasoning once it is fully chilled rather than while it is still at room temperature.

You can serve this at room temperature or chilled. I’ve even had it heated up (!) although that doesn’t work well with the raw garlic version. Serve garnished with sliced Serrano ham, grated hard-boiled eggs and/or bits of basil leaves.

Adapted from a recipe at