While there’s nothing better than hot tomato soup on a cold day, the reverse is true for the warmer months. This cold tomato soup is thick and creamy with a perky acidity from good sherry wine vinegar. This easy Salmorejo recipe is an Andalusian classic that just needs a few good ingredients to make it splendorous. I consider this chilled Spanish tomato soup to be a thicker, creamier gazpacho. It tastes light and refreshing, but with a silky luxurious mouth feel that’s perfect for the hot summer months.
If you find yourself drawn to gazpachos and chilled soups during the summer months, try this classic Spanish tomato soup. It’s really easy to make and I find that it’s very versatile. The soup itself has rich, complex flavors (owing to the good sherry vinegar and olive oil) but it’s also a blank canvas and can be dressed with the traditional garnishes of hard boiled eggs and diced Serrano ham or do like I did — with staples from your own regional fare.
Ingredients for Salmorejo Recipe
- Heavy Ripe tomatoes
- Small Ciabatta Bread or Sourdough Bread
- Spanish Sherry Vinegar (as good as you can find)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the best you have)
- Sea Salt
Start making the salmorejo recipe the day before you want to serve it so that the ingredients can soak and marry.
Day 1: Spanish tomato soup
- Core and chop the tomatoes and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Add the garlic, sea salt and cubed bread and stir to combine.
- Mix together the sherry vinegar and olive oil and pour over the tomato mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Tips for the best creamy Spanish gazpacho
- Save this gazpacho for when the tomatoes are at their peak. Look for heavy ripe fruit that has a fragrant aroma. Also – remember, don’t store your tomatoes in the refrigerator until you’ve cut them. They should be left on the counter, away from sunlight with air to circulate around them. This will give you the juiciest, best tasting tomatoes.
- Use the best quality Extra Virgin olive oil you have. I’ve got several types of olive oil I use in my cooking… The every day stuff (around $12 bottle) is for sautéing vegetables and quick cooking. The better stuff in the $20-$30 or more range, I use for special dressings and drizzling over a finished dish. It can be sourced by region or even from a single estate — and it’s really premium – the difference is apparent. This Spanish tomato soup uses about 3/4 cup of the good stuff.
- Use good Spanish Sherry vinegar – you can tell by it’s sourcing on the label and D.O.P designation. This vinegar is rich and caramel colored. The aroma is nuanced and balanced. While Spanish sherry vinegar is acidic (it’s vinegar, after all), it’s much smoother than your typical grocery store varieties.
- Chilled soups like this Salmorejo recipe need to be well seasoned because human tastes are optimum between 72° to 105°F. Chilled soups are served far cooler than that, so don’t skimp on the flavorings.
Pour and soak
Soak the bread and tomato mixture with the sherry vinaigrette overnight. That will give the tomatoes time to leak their juices into the dressing and for the flavors to blend. The next day the bread will have absorbed most of the dressing and will be very soft and pliable. Perfect for the next step in the salmorejo recipe: blending.
I recommend processing the cold tomato soup in two steps. First in the food processor to break down the solids. This will leave you with a thick, textured soup. Technically, you could eat it this way, but for a really silky, velvety mouth feel it needs to be pureed further. You can do this one of two ways.
2 Ways to puree tomato bread soup
- Use a food mill using the finest puree setting. A food mill is a hand-crank processor that breaks down food and presses it through a fine grate into a bowl. It will take a little sweat equity, but you’ll get a smooth, satiny soup.
- Another (easier) method is using a heavy duty blender. Pulse between medium and high until the soup is creamy and lush with no visible texture. I have a Vitamix blender and I’ve often quipped that it could turn gravel into dust (I think that’s only a slight exaggeration) and it had no issue transforming this Spanish tomato soup into a velvety whisper.
In Spain, it’s common to garnish this chilly gazpacho with chopped hard-boiled egg and strips of Serrano ham along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. To me, Salmorejo is very versatile and you can add any multitude of toppings to it. At the Spanish Gardens restaurant in the Florida Keys, they serve their chilled tomato soup with poached shrimp and avocado, to give it a tropical twist. I’ve included the instructions for the poached shrimp in the instructions, in case you want to go that route.
Optional garnishes for cold tomato soup
- Chopped hard boiled egg
- Serrano ham, cut into strips
- Olive Oil
South Florida garnishes:
- Poached Gulf Shrimp
- Ripe Haas Avocado
- Fresh Parsley, Basil or Cilantro
- Olive oil
Other optional garnishes:
- Chopped ripe tomatoes
- Sliced toasted almonds
- Cooked lump crabmeat
- Crunchy Toasted croutons (made from the same bread as the soup)
- Crispy Pan-fried Pancetta
You can serve the soup immediately after processing it, but it’s best if you give it another hour or two to chill. Serve it in a pitcher and pour the soup out at the table for a light appetizer. This is especially nice when dining alfresco during the summer months on your deck or patio. Here in South Florida, this chilly, bracing tomato soup is a welcome reprieve to the cloak of heat and humidity we deal with from June through September.
More cold soup recipes:
Spanish Salmorejo Recipe (Cold Tomato Soup)
- 4 vine ripe summer tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 4" ciabatta roll, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar (south of Spain)
- 3/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnish
FOR OPTIONAL POACHED SHRIMP GARNISH:
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp shells on
- 3 cups water
- 2 lemon wedges
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 whole peppercorns
- hard boiled eggs chopped
- serrano ham chopped
- drizzle of olive oil
- 3 poached shrimp per serving
- avocado thin sliced
- drizzle of olive oil
- flat leaf parsley
- toasted sliced almonds
- chopped tomatoes
- toasted croutons or breadcrumbs
- lump backfin crab meat
- crispy pancetta
FOR THE SALMOREJO RECIPE:
- Core the tomatoes and slice into wedges. Place the tomatoes, garlic, ciabata bread and salt in a glass bowl.
- Add vinegar to a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Cover and chill 2 hours. (If mixture is still lumpy, you can run it through a food mill so make it smoother.)
FOR THE POACHED SHRIMP:
- Add the water, lemon, bay leaves flat leaf parsley, peppercorns to a large shallow pan and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp to the court bouillon, place the lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Let the shrimp poach in the water for about 10 minutes or until opaque. Remove the shrimp and let them cool. Remove the shrimp shells and chill the shrimp until ready to use.
- Ladle the chilled soup into bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil. Garnish with your favorite accoutrements.