Monday, April 4, 2011

Chilled Almond Gazpacho with Grapes (Ajo Blanco con Uvaas)

This makes a great first course soup for a dinner party. It wouldn’t quite work as a whole meal. You could serve it in small mugs or tiny bowls while your guests are standing around the kitchen, working up an appetite. I must admit that it is not to everyone’s liking. But I find it delicious, refreshing, and anything but ordinary. I think you will too.

6 ounces stale bread, crusts removed
1 cup slivered almonds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2-3 cups water, but start with 2 cups
Red or green seedless grapes, cut in half
Oven-Roasted Grapes

1. Soak the bread in water to cover until it is softened, about 15 minutes. Squeeze the bread to remove some of the water.
2. Put the garlic in a small frying pan with a small amount of oil. Roast slowly over low or low-medium heat until they are soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let them char.
Note: It is easiest to do this next step in two or three batches, depending on the size of your blender or food processor. A blender will give you a smoother consistency.
3. Measure the almonds, olive oil, water, vinegar, and salt. Take some of each, plus some garlic, and place them in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. As you finish each batch, pour it into a bowl large enough to hold all your batches. Stir them together.
4. Add additional water until it is the soupy consistency you like. Check for seasonings and adjust as you see fit.
5. Chill. Right before serving, stir the soup, ladle into bowls and garnish with grapes.

6 servings
Adapted from Janet Mendel’s My Kitchen in Spain

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