Ajo Blanco (white garlic) soup comes from Andalusia, just like its much younger cousin gazpacho. Both are cold soups developed in the impoverished region to help the peasants working long days in the hot sun by giving them hydration and nutrition in one inexpensive dish they could drink.
As one of the many dishes inherited from the Moors, its base ingredient is almonds. Unlike gazpacho, ajo blanco doesn’t include tomatoes, as they weren’t introduced into Spain until the 15th century, long after ajo blanco became a staple of the region.
Ajo blanco is very easy to make and uses inexpensive and common ingredients. As a cold soup, it is eaten mostly in the hot summer months. It can be served in a bowl or drunk from a glass.
Ajo Blanco con Uvas (Cold Almond Soup with Grapes)
- Food Processor or blender
- Large serving bowl
- Mesh strainer
- 1 cup Blanched almonds
- 8 slice Day-old bread, crusts removed
- 2 clove Garlic, peeled
- 1½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 medium Apple, peeled, cored and diced small
- 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
- 6 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups Cold water
- 24 Seedless green grapes, cut in half
- 1 cup Garlic croutons, bought or homemade
- Soup Base – Beat garlic, almonds, apple, and salt in a food processor or blender. Soak half of the bread in a cup of water then squeeze out moisture. With motor running, add half the bread and then then olive oil in a thin stream. Add vinegar and then 1 cup of cold water with the motor still running.
- Chill Soup – Transfer soup to a large work bowl and add remaining cold water. Add more vinegar and salt, if necessary. Place a strainer over a bowl and strain soup into bowl pressing remnants to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chill in refrigerator.
- Homemade Croutons – Take remaining bread slices and cut into ½-inch dice. In a frying pan over medium-low heat, gently fry crushed garlic cloves until golden brown. Remove and discard. Increase heat to medium and add bread cubes to garlic flavored oil. Cook stirring often until cubes become browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl to serve next to the soup.
- To Serve – Pour ice cold soup into individual bowls. Divide halved grapes between bowls and scatter on top. Serve with croutons in a bowl to pass around.
- If no day-old bread is around, toast bread in a toaster or oven and let it cool.