Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s New Recipe Is One of the Best Things I’ve Made All Summer

published Aug 26, 2020
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Credit: Kelli Foster

I’ve never met an Ina recipe I haven’t loved — especially one that celebrates summer produce like tomatoes. So when she shared a sneak peek of the salmorejo soup from her yet-to-be-released cookbook, I couldn’t get in the kitchen fast enough.

Not to be confused with gazpacho, salmorejo is a chilled tomato soup that hails from the south of Spain. It has an extra-thick and creamy texture because it’s made with bread, and there’s also a hint of silkiness that comes from mixing in olive oil.

Ina couldn’t have shared this simple, no-cook recipe at a better time. Right now, tomatoes are the best they’ve been all year. And since they’re the star of this simple summer soup, it feels like the most perfect time to whip up a batch. Here’s what I thought.

Get the recipe: Salmorejo

How to Make Ina Garten’s Salmorejo

This recipe is simple and straightforward, calling for a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. You’ll purée the chopped fresh tomatoes, bread, bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a food processor or blender until only tiny bits of tomato skin remain. Transfer the soup to a large bowl, then whisk in tomato purée, sherry vinegar, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

Cover the soup and rest in the refrigerator for no more than two hours. Ina notes that if you plan to make the soup ahead, it’s best to wait until just before serving to add the olive oil, as it will congeal when chilled for longer than two hours.

While the soup chills in the fridge, you’ll prepare the croutons on the stovetop, and slice the cherry tomatoes and basil for garnish. To serve, ladle the soup among bowls and top with the croutons, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, flaky sea salt, and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Credit: Kelli Foster

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Salmorejo

When it comes to must-make summer tomato recipes, I’m putting this one right up there with tomato sandwiches and tomato salad. It is the best tomato recipe I’ve made this summer, and also one of the easiest.

The flavor is really what makes it so good — I found it to be wonderfully balanced. There’s just enough punchiness from the vinegar to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes, along with a good pop of garlic, and just the right amount of salt to round out the bowl, without actually tasting salty.

The huge reason this batch of soup was such a hit was because of the tomatoes I used. The selection of tomatoes are what will make (or break) this soup. Ina mentions this in a small note at the bottom of the recipe, with a suggestion to use “summer or farm stand tomatoes,” although it’s worth calling out more prominently. I used a mix of tomatoes from my backyard plant and super-fragrant tomatoes from the farmers market. I’m certain the soup wouldn’t have been nearly as good with just-okay grocery store tomatoes.

Credit: Kelli Foster

A Few Tips for Making Ina Garten’s Salmorejo

  1. Buy the best, most ripe tomatoes you can find. Alternatively, if it looks like your tomatoes need a couple more days to ripen, it’s worth waiting and you’ll get a better soup for it. This chilled soup is all about letting beautiful summer tomatoes shine. They’re the star of the recipe, so starting with subpar tomatoes makes for a subpar dish.
  2. You’ll need just one small loaf of bread. The recipe calls for bread for the soup and for the crouton topping. One small loaf is just plenty, and will likely leave you with a little left over. And while the recipe calls for country white bread, I think sourdough would be lovely here.
  3. Do follow Ina’s instruction to chill the soup for 2 hours before serving. The soup is good immediately after it’s made. But letting it sit so the flavors can meld for a couple of hours makes it truly amazing. The time really deepens the flavors, and while the tomatoes are undoubtedly the star, the flavor of each ingredient is clear and pronounced.
  4. Make extra breadcrumbs. You don’t necessarily need any extra for the soup, but it’s inevitable you’ll pop a few in your mouth straight from the pan.

Your turn: Have you tried making salmorejo at home? Let us know in the comments!