Almond and Garlic Soup (Ajo Blanco)
Pungent raw garlic shines in this bracing, no-cook Spanish soup of garlic, bread, and puréed almonds. The dish, one of Spain’s oldest cold soups (which include gazpacho and salmorejo), dates to the eighth century. This recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden’s The Food of Spain (Ecco, 2011). Fresh grapes, a traditional garnish for the dish, add a touch of sweetness.
- 3 1⁄4 cups ice-cold water
- 2 1⁄4 cups blanched almonds
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 (6-oz.) baguette, crusts removed, torn into pieces
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, plus more
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 2 drops almond extract
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Halved green grapes, for garnish (optional)
- Combine 2 cups water, the almonds, garlic, and bread in a food processor and let sit until bread is softened, 4–5 minutes; purée until smooth. With the motor running, add remaining water, the oil, vinegar, extract, and salt; purée until soup is emulsified. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with more oil; garnish with grapes, if you like.