A Spanish cold soup… tastes very savoury, and just a little bit fruity !
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My summer soup journey started here !
A delicious ( the best !) mango cold soup at Mundo restaurant in Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria started this whole journey into cold soups and Spanish style foods. I used to not like soups much at all, much less tomato soups, and cold soups used to make me just think…. yeuch ! But I’ve changed forever now, especially as I’ve been on my own journey learning and tasting and discovering. Once you’ve played your own part in cooking something it never leaves you, so I’m dying to get back to the Canaries to try that Mango soup again and see if I can guess what’s in it !
**Vegetarians… just skip my topping at the end of the post**
Now these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to Spanish cooking, and of course they even own the mango ( & papaya & avocado… ) farm just down the road. So it’s the best farm to table summer soup you could get ! The first time I had it they called it a salmorejo, and this time a gazpacho. they’re holding their recipe card close to their chest but I know their recipes are usually simple, and full of flavour.
Roast veg. style
I happened to have lots of appropriate veg. to roast ( red pepper, red tomatoes, garlic, red onion) and just felt like putting it all in a soup once it was roasted and cooled down. I thought it would be more tasty but no… not noticibly different to the raw veg soups actually. I added some bread to thicken it… so it’s a mix between gazpacho & salmorejo again. I didn’t use a conical sieve as I imagine the restaurant did so it’s not quite as smooth.
After the more tangerine coloured roasted veg soup, I searched for a recipe that might make a more yellow soup. After checking several recipes online I realised there was a huge variety in the ingredients. I just wanted a really simple recipe and I felt this one from cookpad had the basics so I wanted to see how it turned out… then I added something else ! Of course, I’m learning that the more yellow ingredients you use the more yellow it will be … doh !
The basics – for any Salmorejo.
Tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onion and some stale bread. But what about the tomatoes – how do you make a yellow soup when the main ingredient is mostly tomatoes? Do you have to go as far as making a tomato consommé !
Salmorejo is traditionally just tomatoes but is thickened with stale bread and more olive oil than in a gazpacho ( the other typical Spanish cold soup). The oil is necessary to emulsify it and make it a silky and creamy ( hello hand blender ! )
There’s another little secret ingredient I have to tell you about. Paul doesn’t know it was in it ! If someone gives you a soup with toppings, they’re often small pieces of what goes in the soup… or what contrasts brilliantly to bring out the flavour. For example, on a gazpacho, you might find diced peppers or cucumbers, but for a Salmorejo, traditionally it will be crumbled hard boiled egg and a nice thin slice of ham on top .
500g tomatoes (i.e. 4 medium sized ones – larger than plum tomatoes).
1/2 mango diced (the more you put in the more fruity it gets so start with 1/2. I used 3/4 but see the User tips below to understand why).
100g stale bread – cubed (don’t use the crusts. See User tips below to make it blend smoothly).
1 clove garlic (or 1 tooth of garlic as they say in Spain).
70ml Olive Oil (that’s 4-5 tablespoons).
30ml Apple cider Vinegar (I used sherry vinegar because that’s all I had – see the User tips to understand why it’s ok… or not )!
Salt & Pepper (add to your own taste)
Image: The basics for any Salmorejo – just add the mango to make it a mango soup.
Options for toppings
Diced mango, diced hard boiled egg, chopped ham or crispy bacon – or more authentically some serrano ham (crispy dry fried, or plain).
Secret Ingredient !
I blended some of the cooked egg into the soup ( well probably 3/4 but whilst no-one else knew, I could taste it, so I would stick to maximum 1/2 a hard boiled egg). The egg helps add to the umami savoury taste. I’m sure I read that somewhere on a Spanish blog a while ago, and it worked.
Try a spice to balance the fruit.
I was tasting it so much that I was tempted to add a spice to see how it worked. I remembered chili balanced the watermelon nicely in my last gazpacho recipe. I separated a little portion and experimented with some minced ginger – delicious. So easy to do with ginger from the freezer and my microplane. When I asked everyone else that took a taste of the original if they would like the hint of ginger version, they all said a resounding NOOOO, it’s delicious as it is. I still think that had I given them the ginger version first they would have loved it though ! So I’ll save that for ‘Ron.
The method… so simple.
Pop it all in a blender and blend, or in a jug or tall container like I did and hand blend ! That’s it. Best method ever and you get all those raw nutrients intact. Sometimes I even hand blend straight into a jar and then just pop it into the fridge.
Kitchen tools I used
Yup, I’ve carried 3 of these little tools in my baggage because I couldn’t do without them. The hand blender is probably my most expensive one, the fine grater and chef knife are surprisingly cheap for such amazing tools ! Read on…
Blender – this is the one we use, it’s a mighty powerful hand blender so I can take it with me easily in my suitcase ! I use this multi-function C blade ( or knife as they call it ) to do most things.
Micro grater – Not completely necessary, but we do like to make sure raw garlic doesn’t end up in little pieces in the soup. Rub the raw garlic clove on this, and it comes through like a nice paste. We keep our microplane stored with the knives now because we use it just as often as picking up a kitchen knife. You can get different size graters but I think the fine one we have is best for mincing garlic, lemon or ginger. And yes, I bring that with me too in the case !
Large knife and Board – The less power your blender has, the more you should chop up your ingredients in the first place. We like to use the heel of a large chef knife, and big long lasting commercial style boards, and they’ve lasted us forever ! Using the right colour board for the right food is a pet nag of mine ! (A small extra board is nice to have for just onions too.)
Sieve – nope, I didn’t even need one for this recipe, but that’s probably because my Bamix blender is so powerful, so the result was pretty good, and good enough for home cooking ! You can see my blender in the background of the picture below, and if you swap to a whisk blade for the final blending, you’ll see that it ‘whips’ the soup more. If I were a chef serving it in a restaurant… or if I wanted it to be as smooth as the Mundo restaurant soup, I’s use a proper conical chinois sieve. I think ours was given away before we left the UK, but every now and again, I wish we had it for that final beautiful finish.
10 top User tips
- Remove the hard whitish or green parts of the tomato, don’t use these in the soup.
- Remove the skin on the tomatoes. I just score them 4 ways then pop them in a pan of boiling water for up to 10mins whilst I get on with other prep. Then take them put and with a small sharp knife the skin will come off easily.
- I also removed the pips, as I didn’t want these in the soup at the end – as a result my soup was beautifully smooth. I learned that when I didn’t sieve out the pips in the watermelon gazpacho – it’s impossible to get rid of them all as there are always a few that escape the blender.
- For the vinegar, I would usually have rice vinegar in my cupboard but we’re not here in Mallorca for long enough to fill the cupboards up with everything ! A Spanish house always has Sherry vinegar though so of course it was already in the cupboard here. I do love it, like everything Spanish, it’s so easy ! It’s taste is a little sweet and mild, somewhere between white and red vinegar. I thought it would also be more authentically Spanish to use it – but of course it’s a darker colour booo so that doesn’t help make a yellow soup !
- I noticed some salmorejo recipes talk about soaking your stale bread – either in water first, and then squeeze it in your hand to get rid of the water before adding to the soup. Or, if you have more time on your hands, just add it to the chopped tomatoes for 5-10mins to allow it to have a good soak before blending. I did this and I have to say I got a much smoother finish to my soup than before. ( I always use a pretty heavy sourdough bread though, and I never feel obliged to eat it all on the day it’s fresh, as I know I can freeze it and use for soups like this later ).
- Add the olive oil at the end, once you’ve done a good blend first. Add it in slowly as you blend and you will see it literally emulsifying and turning your blend into a rich creamy silky soup.
- If you want the soup to be less red, just use light coloured ingredients – preferably yellow or white.
- The original recipe said to use 1/2 mango, I ended up using 3/4 because it needed it. My mango was particularly fibrous so I felt I needed more.
- If your fruit is particularly fibrous, you’ll need a strong blender like Bamix… or change the fruit ! Use the multi-function ( C ) blade or the meat ( S ) blade. Just remove the fibres from the blade when you’re done ( or every now and again ) but always pull the power plug out first. I do that as a habit.
- I only had cracked black pepper, so I used my Bamix chopping bowl to pulverize some into powder. You can see it in the background of the image above. So I’d say using a little white pepper would be better for a light smooth soup like this. ( Yes, I do have some in my store cupboard in the Canary Islands – I brought some bags of spices with me but not the whole cupboard ! I’m learning .)
You can freeze it too !
After I made this, the family made a spontaneous decision to go out for a meal. So rather than have the worry of “when will we have the soup?” hanging over me I just popped it in the freezer.
I just love prepping food, and any time I take a break from sitting at the computer ( which we’re mean’t to do every 30-40mins you know ! ) I like to prep something for a meal later in the day, or even in the week. I love looking in the fridge to see what needs to be used up, and if I think I’m not going to use it soon, I may just prep it for storing in the freezer so it gets preserved. Or, I may cook it up and then refrigerate it again just to extend the shelf life of that food ( eg home made mayonnaise, or raw chicken or fish that’s about to expire, or I like to roast peppers or tomatoes that are turning softer, and throw a garlic bulb in too ). I also have a look in the freezer and pull out anything that needs to be used soon, so pull some meat or fish out to defrost for using in the next few days. I hate waste, and I love having choices !
Here’s how to prepare from frozen.
The mango soup worked brilliantly straight from the freezer. Just pop it in the microwave or heat in a pan for a very short time to partly defrost, then blend it again with your hand blender if it is strong enough for frozen things ( my Bamix is perfect for that). Having it still part frozen means you still end up with a perfectly cold soup.
Finally we get to eat it
Tada…. the final result.
I asked Paul to get me some Serrano ham when shopping – knowing what it was for he assumed I wanted pancetta ( no chef !!!) so I sulked for a bit. Then on a better day I tried it – and loved it ! So, it’s really only about having the ham contrast that makes it work – go ahead with bacon, or ham or any sort. Serrano is yummy though, and more authentic.
I’m also getting there with the colour don’t you think. Next time, I’m going to use a white vinegar ( rice or apple cider perhaps), and I guess if I used yellow tomatoes that would be perfect !
I’ve discovered the beauty of mixing raw vegetables and coming up with something that tastes ‘cooked’. Feels like these soups are just based on a raw mirepoix or, I should more rightly say, a Spanish Sofrito of sweet onion, garlic, tomato etc – with added oil and vinegar, and vegetable tastes to add to the overall result.
I’m really enjoying mixing ingredients to get the balance of the all the taste flavours – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami, fat and heat.
Why don’t you make a start with this Salmorejo, it couldn’t be any easier. It’s nice and thick and creamy tasting, and even in the winter I think it would make a lovely little refreshing starter with the added egg and cooked ham on top.
What else have I made that’s similar…
I made a roasted vegetable mango gazpacho ( if that’s not a contradiction to star with cooked ingredients !), a simple peach one which turned out green, and a watermelon gazpacho based on the hairy Biker’s recipe.
I noticed a green apple gazpacho on the menu of a wonderful local vegetarian restaurant so I went back one day to have it and nooooo it wasn’t on the menu any more. They change it every day, and also recommended a beetroot & cumin version. I keep going, and I keep missing it !
So I’ll let you know if I get to have them… though summer is now coming to an end ! In the meantime, I thought you might also be interested in these posts too. I’ve included the best hand blenders as you can see how important this magic kitchen wand has been on my cooking journey.
A traditional gazpacho recipe – with an added twist. Learn here the 4 main differences between a gazpacho & a salmorejo.
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