“Salmorejo” from Cordoba
Bread, tomato, garlic, olive oil, salt and, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and the cook’s taste, a little vinegar. Salmorejo is one of the most representative dishes of Cordoba cuisine. So much so that no bar, tavern, or restaurant or house in Cordoba fails to serve this cold cream, perfect for the Andalusian hot summers, accompanied by traditional egg chips, diced ham and croutons.
According to Almudena Villegas, a historian, expert in nutrition and dietetics and a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy, the origins of this dish could be traced back to the Neolithic or even the Paleolithic.
More than the tomato, which was brought into the recipe only in the early twentieth century, that is many centuries after it came to Europe from America, the basic ingredient of this dish is the bread (preferably stale). Salmorejo would therefore be a 'grandson' of the first bread or flour soups cooked in prehistory.
As to its birthplace, salmorejo could have appeared first in Mesopotamia and the successive gastronomic influences of the Romans, Arabs and Jews would gradually change it into salmorejo as it is known and enjoyed today.
Like most traditional dishes, salmorejo also can have many variations depending on where it is made: in Antequera, Malaga, cold leek cream is served which differs from salmorejo in the presence of pepper and because it usually is also served with tuna, egg well and ham. On the other hand, ‘gazpacho’, the most international of Spanish dishes, differs in its texture, which is much more liquid due to the absence of bread, and contains ingredients such as cucumber, onion and pepper, which do not appear in the salmorejo recipe.
Besides the classical salmorejo, or rather the classical salmorejos the province of Cordoba and the whole of Andalusia, there salmorejos of squid ink, corn, beetroot, spring mushrooms, courgette, avocado, asparagus, pumpkin, eggplant, sea urchins and algae. All of these state-of-the-art salmorejos are found on the Salmorejería Umami menu, the first restaurant specializing in salmorejo that just opened in the heart of Cordoba, between the Plaza de las Tendillas and the Mosque. Over thirty variants of this classical Andalusian dish are served; there is even a 'Mexican salmorejo' made with chilli, and sweet salmorejos of red fruits, nougat, vanilla and chocolate.
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