Gazpacho requires a descriptor. As I’ve noted previously, asking for plain, old “gazpacho” just won’t cut it.
There can be tomato gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, or mango gazpacho, the cold soup characterized by its underlying fruit. But there can also be green gazpacho and white gazpacho, the latter often referred to as ajo blanco. Ajo blanco is made from ground almonds, combined with what makes gazpacho, gazpacho: bread, garlic, and vinegar. Once prepared, ajo blanco is traditionally served with green grapes.
While ajo blanco remains incredibly popular in southern Spain, its tangy flavor may reflect more of an acquired taste here in the States. But for those with a sense of adventure, it may well be worth a try!
Ajo Blanco – White Gazpacho
PREP TIME: 15 minutes, but chilling recommended
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: 6 Servings
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 cup blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3 slices bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup water
2 to 3 cups cold water or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
FOR THE CROUTONS:
4 slices of brioche or crusty bread
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a cookie sheet, and bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Cool.
2. In a food processor or blender, blend almonds and garlic into a uniform, gritty paste.
3. In a small bowl, moisten the bread in 1/4 cup water and squeeze dry. Add to the almond-garlic mix, and blend. Add 2 cups of the stock or water, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Blend until smooth. If you want a thinner consistency, add one more cup of water or stock. If you want a finer texture, strain the mixture through a medium-fine sieve. Cover and chill for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
4. Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium-low heat. Dice the bread into half-inch cubes and fry them until browned.
5. To serve, taste for salt, and stir in grapes. Ladle into small bowls or ramekins, and scatter croutons on top!