Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cold Garlic Almond Soup - Ajo Blanco


It's another warm day in Stockholm! I really don't get all the complaints about the Swedish summer this year - I think it's pretty warm and sunny all the time! Maybe I'm just oblivious to the rain and the wind... it doesn't bother me at all.

I have always been suspicious of cold soups. In fact, of anything that's not served at it's "proper" temperature. (I guess I'd have a hard time at a hard-core molecular gastronomy place, huh?) However, I'm learning to appriciate it more and more, and this is a nice little Spanish soup, with garlic and almonds. I found this particular recipe at Annette's lovely blog called I Mitt Franska Kök, "In My French Kitchen". She blogs in Swedish, and lives in France.

I changed a few things about her recipe, but not much. Less oil, more grapes, a bit less almonds, and since I didn't have sherry vinegar at home, I used regular sherry, and vinegar. Worked out nicely! I also didn't have raisins, but plenty of dried cranberries, which worked very well here. We served this as a tiny starter, because as good as it is, I can't eat more than a very small bowl. It's pretty intense!

Cold Garlic Almond Soup - Ajo Blanco

Serves 4 as a main course, or 8 as a starter

100 g white bread, crust removed
90 g almonds, blanched
120 g seedless green grapes
2 garlic cloves
3-4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
500 ml water
1 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

To serve:
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 cucumber, peeled

Tear the bread into smaller pieces and place in a bowl. Cover with cold water. Let it sit for half an hour and squeeze most of the water from the bread. Put the bread in a food processor, with the almonds, grapes and garlic. Process until it's very smooth. Add oil, salt, pepper, water, sherry and vinegar. Process again until it's completely smooth. I had to get out my immersion blender for this, so be prepared for it to take a while. (Next time, I'm using my Kitchen-Aid blender, which is much stronger than my food processor.)

Leave it in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours, it should be really cold when you serve it.

Toast the pine nuts and chop roughly with the cranberries. Put this mixture in the bottom of each soup bowl, add the soup, and garnish with finely diced cucumber.

Recipe in Swedish:
Kall mandelsoppa med vitlök


Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

But it has been cold, Anne. Or maybe I was just born in the wrong climate zone :-)

Regarding cold soups I think that I actually only like cold polish beetroot soup but this sounds worth trying as starter some time.

Tesse said...

now you are SO wrong, its a cold rainy and windy summer =( Five days out of 70 with nice weather is not a good summer =P

But today it is beautiful!

ann said...

I made this last year and decided to garnish it with lightly pickled strings of melon and garlicky breadcrumbs. Its such a wonderful recipe, I should really try it again.

Martha said...

This looks like an interesting recipe to try. Thanks!

And, I concur, there has been no summer this year in Stockers...I could grumble on about this, but I'll spare you.

Culinarily Curious said...

You have some of the most amazing creative recipes! I'm really looking forward to trying this one.

Lady Amalthea said...

This is just delightful. I had the same problem with pureeing it enough; perhaps I should have broken out my immersion blender as well.
Anyway, this was my interpretation: