Sopa de Ajo Blanco...Spanish Chilled Garlic and Almond Soup. With the summer months here, I look forward to trying out some new cold soups that's refreshing and light. We've had a pretty cool summer so far...and haven't really had hot weather. But we did manage to have maybe a couple of days so far that have hit the high 80's, even the low 90's. That's when I took the opportunity to make this soup.
This is the type of soup that can be served as a starter to a meal....or even used as a meal in itself. Most of us know of the popular Gazpacho soup made with garden-fresh vegetables... but its cousin, the Ajo Blanco, is sort of...well, let's just say it's not so popular. I am not sure why...
Ok, to be truthfully honest, when I first came upon this recipe, I was sort of hesitant. The soup itself wasn't what made me stop a bit, but rather the grapes. I didn't know how that combination would play out...but I was willing give it a try. I really had the option to forego the grapes....but in the end, I am glad I added them. The grapes added a nice tinge of tartness as well as texture against the smoothness of the soup. I was pleasantly surprised... the grapes complemented the soup quite nicely. Somehow, the Spanish knew what they were doing:)...
When making this soup, everything gets mixed in a blender or food processor. You can taste and adjust as you go. If you want, you can add more almonds, more bread crumbs... and add garlic to taste. A different sort of soup that uses simple ingredients...and perfect for the summer months.
The Sopa de Ajo Blanco is refreshing, and if you like garlic, you'll probably enjoy this easy-to-prepare soup. A soup that deserves some attention anyway:)... even if I haven't captured the best photos of it. Hope you enjoy...
Note: I made my soup a bit thinner... and what looks like a glass of milk, isn't:).
You can increase the amount of bread crumbs/ground almonds and make it thick enough where the grape halves don't sink to the bottom, but rather float on top of the soup....or simply don't add as much water.
Tip:If you don't care for the grapes, opt for a sprinkling of paprika. And if you like, you can use some almond milk instead of the water.
You will need: adapted from Masterclass New Zealand
2 cloves garlic, chopped and peeled
1/2-2/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground*
1/3-1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs**
3-4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 TBS sherry vinegar(or white wine vinegar), or to taste
1 1/2 -2 cups iced water
salt to taste
1/2 cup seedless white grapes, halved
extra olive oil, optional
garlic croutons, optional
*I used almond slivers for the blanched almonds. I put a range for both almonds and bread crumbs... in case you want to adjust the thickness of the soup.
** Sourdough or ciabatta breads are excellent to use, but a French bread works just as well. You can likewise just soak a slice or two of bread in some water/milk , squeeze dry, and add to the blender.
1. Put the garlic, almonds, breadcrumbs(or soaked bread), and olive oil into a food processor. Puree to a smooth paste. Add the vinegar( the smallest amount) and water( start with 1 1/2 cups first) and process until frothy. Adjust consistency, if needed with extra breadcrumbs, ground almonds, and/or water. Taste and season with salt and extra vinegar, if needed.
2. Serve each portion of soup in a small glass with some grape halves. Sprinkle a bit of paprika and/or drizzle a bit of extra olive oil, if desired. You can also add a few garlic croutons, if you like. Serve cool, but not too cold.