I eat often and enthusiastically, so when I come across a completely new flavor, I get nerdily excited, and must discover the source of my culinary conundrum. I get even more excited when I find out it’s something super-simple, and I already have the ingredients at home, so I can make it again RIGHT AWAY. To the kitchen! Whee!
Garlic, almonds, bread. That’s basically it. Oh, and some water. Crazy, right? A little quick research on the interwebs revealed this magic soup is called Ajo Blanco, and it is a very popular Spanish dish. I love me some gazpacho, but Ajo Blanco has been been flying under my recipe radar up until now, so I need to make up for lost time! It is instantly refreshing with a richness from the almonds and a touch of zip from the garlic.
One word of caution, however. As much as my husband loves and adores me, I think he would be a little sad if I ate this soup every day. Raw garlic, however small the clove, has a tendency to…linger, so make sure your loved one is on board the garlic train with you before you slurp down a whole bowl. That being said, I also recommend serving this as a small first course (perhaps in cute, small teacups!) since it really awakens the palate. (That’s a euphemism for bad breath, if I ever heard one.) I’m mostly kidding.
Come winter I plan to try a warm version using roasted garlic and toasted almonds. I might even throw in a potato. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, though, consider trying this cold soup as a fun dish at a summer dinner party perfect for any of those pesky vegetarian or vegan friends you may have. (Side note: I was having some red wine the other evening and written on the bottle was “Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly.” That is…reassuring?)
xo, Holly (The Apiarist)
Chilled Almond and Garlic Soup
Recipe Inspired by Olympic Provisions
Another popular garnish for this soup that I have yet to try is sliced green grapes. Perhaps the sweetness would help temper the garlic? Also, be sure to use the best quality ingredients you have since the preparation of this soup is so simple.
2 cups day-old white bread, crusts removed and torn into 1-2 inch pieces
1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup blanched almonds, plus 2 tablespoons toasted for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2-2 1/4 cups water
Pinch of red pepper flakes, for garnish
Minced green onions or chives, for garnish
Place bread, garlic, almonds, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and let ‘er rip until contents are finely ground, about 1-2 minutes. With motor still running, add the oil and vinegar, and process until well combined. Add one cup of the water, pulse until combined, and then let the motor run until mixture is very smooth. Pour contents into a medium bowl, and whisk in 1 more cup of water. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
Give the chilled soup a good stir, and add an additional 1/4 cup of water if you feel it’s too thick. Give it a taste and add any additional salt or vinegar, if necessary. Pour into bowls and garnish with a sassy swirl of good olive oil, some toasted almonds, a pinch of pepper flakes, and some green onions. Serve chilled. Makes about 3-3 1/2 cups.