One of the things that people cannot miss while on a trip to visit Cordoba it the typical Salmorejo cordobés. A cold soup that slightly resembles gazpacho. More than a dish, Salmorejo is a cultural product, enjoyed by people in the whole country and abroad. And what's so great about it? Just like its cousins, salmorejo is made with inexpensive and common ingredients, that when mixed produce a delicious result which is loved by most people in Spain.
The origin of this cold soup has been lost over the course of history, however we do know that the first versions of salmorejo were actually "salmorejo blanco" (white salmorejo) because tomato was not among its ingredients. In fact tomato did not appear in Spain until Christopher Columbus brought them back to the Spanish penisular from Latin America.
The Romans brought wheat along with them and sub products such as bread and a soup made from wheat flour and salt water, consumed by legionaries and the lower classes. The Romans also used to drink a mix of equal parts of water and vinegar, seasoned with herbs, in which they would sometimes soak bread in this drink called posca. This may well be the origin of this popular soup, though there are some older examples which are thought to date from the period before Roman Hispania, whose ingredients were soaked bread, garlic and vinegar.
But once tomato was imported to Europe, it slowly gained and acceptance and became ever more popular as an ingredient in Spanish cooking. In many dishes it was used for the its intense red color. This gave way to Salmorejo's natural evolution and tomato is now one of its main ingredient, though this happened in the beginning of the 20th century. Salmorejo is now famous for its pinky-red colour which has led to a revival of the soup in some of the more upmarket restaurants in Spain. Many chefs are now beginning to see the artistic properties of this dish and have begun to use it as a decoration on many of their plates.
Salmorejo requires very few and common ingredients and it's very easy to make so is a great dish for a novice chef to try. Furthermore, the ingredients are mostly inexpensive which makes salmorejo a great choice for people who want to enjoy a little taste of Spanish gastronomy, albeit on a tight budget.
Despite being an easy soup to make, many people still feel that it is too much effort. This has led to a number of compnaies producing ready made versions of the soup that can be seen on sale in the supermarkets in cartons similar to those of oranje juice. Although these soups certainly do save time and can be a good idea for people in a rush, they do not compare to a proper home made version of it.
Another great thing about salmorejo is that it is actually very good for you. Tomatoes are a natural source of antioxidants and are full of vitamins too. Garlic meanwhile is a great food for summer as it is has many vasodilatory properties. Olive oil is actually a good oil and forms an important part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. It also contains a lot of Vitamin E. What more could you ask for than a tasty Spanish soup full of all this goodness!
Remember that salmorejo is served throughout the country so you have no excuse not to try some of the soup. Don't forget to try some of Spain's other famous soups and stews as well!