Saturday, June 23, 2012


Salmorejo is gazpacho "cream."
It’s sweltering hot in southern Spain right now. With the first day of summer and the solstice madness of the San Juan festival, it sure seems time for some cool gazpacho. Except I’m loathe to break my own rule—to make gazpacho only with home-grown tomatoes, which are still weeks away. Instead, I’m enjoying some “pre-gazpacho”—salmorejo. Salmorejo is made with more or less the same ingredients as gazpacho—bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and tomato—but the proportions are different. More bread, less tomato, no water to thin the puree. I call it  “gazpacho cream.” 

Salmorejo is famous in the tascas of Córdoba, where it’s usually presented in individual ramekins to be eaten with a spoon. Garnished with strips of serrano ham and chopped egg, it serves as a starter, instead of soup, instead of salad, a gazpacho place-holder. A very similar preparation in the town of Antequera (Málaga) is called porra and is a rustic country dish made in an olive-wood bowl.

Salmorejo as a party dip.
Salmorejo is thick enough to serve as a dip. I like to serve it in a bowl accompanied by raw vegetables and breadsticks as dippers. Salmorejo also makes a sauce—spoon it over grilled fish or chicken—or a salad dressing.

Country bread thickens the cream.

Use good country-style bread with a dense crumb as the base for salmorejo. It should be at least a day old. In fact, salmorejo is a great way to use up stale bread. It’s easier to process the bread if it’s first soaked in water to soften it. Squeeze it out really well. The finished cream should be the consistency of thick mayonnaise.

Gazpacho Cream

Serves 10 to 12 as a party dip or 6 as a starter.

12 ounces day-old bread, crusts removed
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
3 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
2 ounces serrano ham, cut in thin strips, to serve
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced, to serve

Cut the bread into chunks and put in a bowl with water to cover. Let soak until softened.

Cut the peeled and seeded tomatoes into chunks and place in a food processor bowl with the garlic. Process until puréed.

Squeeze out as much water as possible from the bread. Add the bread to the processor bowl. (If necessary, process in two batches.) Process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil, salt and vinegar to make a thick cream. Chill until serving time.

If serving as a dip, spread the cream in a dish and garnish the top with strips of ham and sliced egg. As a starter, serve the cream in individual ramekins or small bowls, each garnished with ham and egg.


  1. I am an American living in the Madrid area and I love to cook. I am enjoying learning to cook the recipes of Spain and thus look forward to each new post of yours. When we were in the Malaga area this past December we had a salad that the waiter told us was called "Ensalada de Malaga." It had potatoes and oranges in it. They served it with bread, as a starter - not a full salad. I have looked everywhere for a recipe. Have you heard of this salad and do you know of a recipe for it?

    Thanks for the fun of cooking like my neighbors!

    1. Cindy: I'm pleased that you are enjoying this blog. The "ensalada de Málaga" that you ask about was included in this post, Actually, it was an adaptation. The original recipe calls for bacalao--salt cod. In Málaga it includes potatoes, although in my village it does not. Coincidentally, in my village it is called SALMOREJO--or the same name that is given to this completely different, gazpacho type preparation that I wrote about today.