16.6.08

Ajoblanco: the other Spanish chilled soup

Ajoblanco literally means "white garlic", but I´ve seen it translated as "white gazpacho" (which it isn´t) and "almond gazpacho" (which it is, kind of). It sounds more chic that way, I guess, and that´s fine by me, because this is one very chic chilled soup, having almonds as a main ingredient, and being served with fruit floating inside. I also happen to think that the colour of ajoblanco is particulary beautiful, being of a very luminous warm white, nothing like the creamy white of a vichyssoise, or the eggshell of horchata.

Gazpacho will always remain the favourite, because you really can´t beat a bowl of gazpacho on a hot day. But ajoblanco makes for a welcome change, being light and refreshing and, well, not gazpacho, which you might appreciate if you´ve been having it for lunch every single day of every summer.

This here recipe is my adaptation of the one in 1080 recetas. Basically, it´s just the same, but with half the oil. The one in Moro has lots more almonds and way less bread, which I daresay is lovely and luxurious, but since at home we´ve always made the 1080 one, and it´s so good, I haven´t bothered to try the Moro way.

The traditional way is to serve this with grapes floating inside, and maybe a drizzle of precious fruity olive oil. I was all out of grapes, or apples or melon (traditional subsitutes too), so we stoned a few cherries, and it was not only a delicious alternative, but very pretty. The fruit juice made pink swirls in the soup. I think I may have stumbled on a new classic.

Ajoblanco con cerezas

150 gr. raw almonds, without skins. You can buy them ready ground, too.
Garlic (one or two cloves, your call. I suggest you start easy and add more as you go)
100 ml. good olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
200 gr. bread, crusts off, stale if you have it but don´t go crazy if you don´t
salt to taste,
cold water
and grapes, cubes of Granny Smith apples, melon or stoned cherries to serve.

Soak the bread in water if it´s stale, and if not then don´t bother.
Throw the almonds into a food processor and grind them as finely as possible. Now add the garlic, bread (squeezed out if it was soaked), salt, olive oil and a bit of water and pulse til you have a paste.
Add iced water and pulse again, and then just add water until you have the consistency you like. I think ajoblanco should be thin and drinkable, like gazpacho, but there is a school of thought that favours the spoonable, slightly thicker stuff.
Add the vinegar, adjust the salt, and chill it thoroughly.

When it´s time to eat, check again for salt and vinegar, since the cold might have numbed their taste. Serve in soup bowls, scatter a few seeded grapes or stoned cherries, and leave the olive oil on the table for the drizzlers.

The image is courtesy of Agitado no batido , advertisers extraordinaire and its legal owners.

14 comentarios:

Open air dijo...

Loved it !

Anónimo dijo...

Pruébalo con higos bien maduros, una delicia!
Inés

Manolo dijo...

Lovely...

elizabethbriel dijo...

Beautiful illustrations - and a fabulous recipe too!

Looking forward to more.
(from an artist in Hong Kong)

Pille dijo...

I cannot believe this! I just made my first cold soup of 2008 (kefir, radishes, loads of herbs), and was thinking that 'hopefully tomatoes are ripe soon, so I can make Ximena's gazpachp' AND 'I wonder if she's got a recipe for that white soup'?
And here you are!!??!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

Hooray -- another wonderful cold Spanish soup! This is such a great alternative to gazpacho -- and I always have grapes on hand.

lobstersquad dijo...

Open air: cool, thanks!
Inés: probaré, buenísima idea
Manolo: great
Elizabethbriel: welcome, glad you like it
Pille: kefir and radishes sounds very cooling, just the thing. And now you can vary with this as well.
Lydia: we love our gazpacho, but sometimes you just gotta change a bit.

brooxi dijo...

Congratulations on being recognized as a blogger of note this week! I LOVE your drawings!

porchwise dijo...

If this is your illustration, you should be submitting cartoons to the New Yorker as they love this style.
Soup recipe was excellent, by the way.

ChichaJo dijo...

This is yummy! I haven't had this is too long a time...thanks for sharing your recupe :)

~SelfAppointedObserver~ dijo...

greetings from malaysia!
maybe i'll try the recipe this weekend. *cheers*

Guru dijo...

Y yo que aún no lo he probado .... shame on me.

Ducan Zeiyuu dijo...

Nice!

CHRISTINE HUMPHRIES dijo...

I went to Spain in 2002 and loved every minute of it....except eating was sometimes a challenge because I'm a vegetarian. I definitely will try this soup.

In the meantime, I love your blog! Congratulations on the recognition from Blogger!

~Christine, an artist in New Jersey, USA

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