One, generally, associates ‘gazpacho’ with the red, tomato based chilled soup. But there are other types, including ajoblanco – an almond based gazpacho.
As is typical with these chilled soups, they are easy to prepare. But for maximum flavor, they need to be refrigerated for several hours before serving…so plan ahead!
NOTE: This is a delicious soup, but a little is quite enough. It’s a very rich soup and not meant to be an entire meal.
AJOBLANCO – (ALMOND GAZPACHO) – makes 5½ cups
- 3 slices good quality white sandwich bread
- 2 cups water
- 1¼ cups + 3 T blanched slivered almonds, divided
- 1½ T sherry vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
- 1 cups green grapes, sliced in half
Remove and discard crusts from bread. Place bread in medium sized bowl and cover with the 2 cups of water. Let soak for 5 minutes. While the bread is soaking, grind 1¼ cups almonds in a blender until they become a fine powder – about 30 seconds. Gently squeeze water out of bread back into the bowl (you’re going to use this water). Place the bread into the blender with the almonds. Set aside 1½ cups of the bread water for later. Into the blender, add the remaining water in bowl (NOT the 1½ cups you set aside), the vinegar, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Blend for 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour in the 1½ cups bread water and run blender to mix. Strain soup into a serving bowl. Into a small bowl combine 1 T of the strained soup with the almond extract. Then pour 1/2 tsp of this mixture into the soup (it enhances the almond flavor) and discard the rest (a little goes a long way). Correct for seasoning, if needed (I usually need more salt). Chill, at least, 3 hours – more is better. Toast remaining 3 T almonds in a dry skillet or toaster-oven.
To serve, ladle soup into small bowls and top with toasted almonds and grapes. If you like, you can drizzle on more olive oil – but I think that’s a bit too much richness.