Chef Terradillos' Salmorejo recipe, a Spanish summer classic with a twist

Roberto Terradillos is chef patron of Spanish restaurant TERRA PALENCIA, selected for a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide 2021 and a sun by the Repsol Guide 2021.

Salmorejo as such was not known until some time after the arrival in Spain of tomatoes with Christopher Columbus, which is when we started to “cook” with them around the 18th century.

Since then, like other traditional Spanish recipes, Salmorejo has always had a place in most Spanish homes, especially during the hot summer months. This cold soup does not require great technical skill, but it requires a very precise point of seasoning so that the flavour is well balanced. Look after that.

Chef Terradillos’ Salmorejo recipe, a Spanish summer classic with a twist
Roberto TerradillosCourtesy of Roberto Terradillos

Spanish Salmorejo with a berry twist recipe

Serves: 18

Cooking time: 5 minutes of preparation + 1 hour of macerating (though it is at its best the next day)

Ingredients: 2.4 kg of ripe tomatoes

15 gr of garlic (approximately 3 peeled pieces)

140 g fresh spring onion (approximately 1)

160 g red pepper bell (approximately 1 pepper)

50 ml of amontillado wine (any other aperitif wine, I also like vermouth, for example.)

500 g raspberry pulp (blended raspberries)

200 gr beetroot (approximately 4)

100 g bread

330 ml water

660 ml olive oil

140 g mayonnaise (as neutral as possible)

Salt and pepper, to taste.

Method

Chop all the previously washed vegetables. Mix in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients except raspberries and leave it to macerate in the fridge for an hour.

Once cold and macerated, blend with the help of a temperature-controlled mixer or blender. Add the red fruits and finish blending at 60º Celsius. Then pass it through a fine sieve. It should have a creamy and appetising texture.

Once passed through the sieve, add the mayonnaise: it will help to bind it, emulsify it and give it consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste and put in the fridge until ready to eat. The trout caviar, sardines or pickles can be added to the dish as a garnish.

Pair it with: White wine, made from Verdejo grapes in the Rueda region of Spain. I like K-Naia or Verdeal.

My grandmother’s classic Salmorejo (for those who would like to try a more classic version of the recipe)

Serves: 8
Cooking time: 45 minutes

This is the recipe of my grandmother Cata, who’s an extraordinary cook. Her version is more like Gazpacho (a similar but less thick mixture). She substitutes the bread (usually used in Salmorejo) for red pepper bell and dresses the soup with a few drops of vinegar. It is one of those dishes that, thinking back, she has always prepared in the summertime of the year.

Ever since he was a child, seeing the jar of Salmorejo on the table at her house meant that summer was coming, the good weather… and that the school year was over.

The success of the preparation is guaranteed if good tomatoes are selected, and at my grandmother Cata’s house, thanks to a neighbour, there were always good tomatoes in season, which made the recipe just perfect.

Ingredients

1 kg of tomatoes

100 gr of bread or 1 red pepper if you’re going with my grandmother’s variation

150 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 peeled garlic clove

10 ml vinegar (optional)

Salt

Method

Wash the tomatoes.

Gently blend the tomatoes with the bread (or pepper), add garlic and continue blending.

Add the olive oil (and vinegar, if using). Continue emulsifying, this time at a higher speed.

Set aside in the fridge. Serve cold.

History and inspiration

Salmorejo is originally from Cordoba, Andalucia, a city famous for its hot and arid summers. Its origin dates back to the 19th century when food was pounded with stones. Salmorejo’s ancestor is believed to be Mazamorra, a staple food for Roman troops. Over time, Salmorejo also became a hit with pickers in the olive groves of Andalusia, southern Spain.

My inspiration for this variation of the recipe was to look for a flavour to enhance the tomato, in this case: the red fruits, which are also enhanced by the sugary beets. I really like its texture, and it is very easy to achieve if we have a temperature-controlled mixer, blender, or similar, at home. Mixing it at 60º allows us to achieve pasteurization, thus extending its shelf life.

Salmorejo is perfect as an appetizer, and garnishing it with some salted trout or sardine gives it a perfect salty nuance.

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