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Traditional Ajo Blanco Recipe – Spanish Chilled Almond and Bread Soup

Traditional Ajo Blanco Recipe - Spanish Chilled Almond and Bread Soup

Discover the delightful world of Ajo Blanco, a creamy and refreshing Spanish soup that’s perfect for hot summer days. This elegant chilled soup, sometimes referred to as ‘white gazpacho,’ is a delicious blend of almonds, bread, and garlic, brightened with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Unveiling the Magic of Ajo Blanco

Ajo Blanco may not be as famous as its red cousin, gazpacho, but it’s a hidden gem in Spanish cuisine. This vegan delight offers a unique combination of flavors and textures that will surprise and delight your taste buds.

The name ‘Ajo Blanco’ translates to ‘white garlic,’ but don’t let that fool you. While garlic adds a delightful kick, the true star of this soup is the almond. When blended, almonds release their milk, creating an incredibly creamy texture that’s hard to believe is dairy-free.

Choosing the Perfect Almonds

For the best flavor, opt for either plain blanched almonds or Spanish Marcona almonds. Blanched almonds provide a clean, fresh taste, while Marconas add a subtle toasty complexity. Avoid heavily toasting the almonds yourself, as it can overpower the delicate flavors of the soup.

The Bread Dilemma: Fresh or Stale?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need stale bread for this recipe. Fresh bread works just as well, fully absorbing the liquid and creating the perfect texture. The bread acts as a thickening agent, providing structure to the soup without dominating the flavor profile.

Ajo Blanco Ingredients

  • 1 cup blanched or Marcona almonds (6 ounces; 170g)
  • 3 cups (720ml) cold water
  • 1 to 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 pound (225g) fresh, crustless rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7ml) sherry vinegar, plus more if desired
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish and serving
  • Green seedless grapes, crushed toasted almonds, and thinly sliced fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Crafting Your Ajo Blanco

  1. In a blender, combine almonds with water and garlic. Blend at high speed until milky, scraping down the sides as needed. Add bread and blend until very smooth. Season with salt, then blend in vinegar and olive oil. If using a less powerful blender, pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate until very well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  3. To Serve: Cut grapes into smaller pieces and toss with almonds, mint, and just enough olive oil to coat. Season garnish with salt. Shake or stir soup well. Check consistency and thin with cold water, if desired. Adjust seasoning with more salt and/or vinegar if needed. Pour into chilled serving bowls. Spoon grape garnish on top, drizzling more olive oil in a decorative manner. Serve and enjoy!

The Secret to Ajo Blanco’s Success

The true magic of Ajo Blanco lies in its garnish. While the soup itself is delicious, it’s the addition of juicy grapes (or sometimes melon) that elevates it to a whole new level. The sweet-tart bites of fruit complement the creamy soup perfectly, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Pro Tips for Perfect Ajo Blanco

1. For the smoothest texture, use a high-powered blender. 2. Don’t skip the chilling time – it allows the flavors to meld and develop. 3. Be creative with your fruit garnish – while grapes are traditional, melon or even apple can work well. 4. Adjust the garlic to your taste – start with less and add more if desired. 5. Serve in chilled bowls for the most refreshing experience.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
341 Calories
23g Fat
28g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 341
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 488mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 136mg 10%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 283mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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