Saturday, 20 August 2011

Ajo Blanco- chilled almond and garlic soup

Ajo Blanco is a traditional Andalusian dish that dates back to the time of the Moorish occupation of the region. Its beautiful delicate flavour makes it a favorite in the hot summer months, which at the moment with temperatures soaring means its well worth the effort. It's actually a decidedly simple recipe, that makes use of ingredients grown in abundance in the area. Almonds are harvested mostly at the end of June and into the months of July, the garlic aswell. A good quality olive oil is a must so choose an organic variety or if you live here in Spain a Verdial- fruity and sweet that compliments the sharpness of the garlic. This is a soup that can be served with strips of fine cut Jamon Serrano, cubes of cold rock melon or the traditional Moscatel grape thats coming into season right about now.

Ingredients:

100gms almonds in their skins
150gms dense white bread or pan de pueblo
2 cloves of garlic
100 mils extra virgin olive oil
30 mils white wine vinegar
1 litre of cold spring water

Firstly soak the bread in water until softened squeeze out the excess water and set aside.

Put a pan of water on to boil, and pass the almonds for a few minutes in the water, let them cool and then pop them out of their skins.

In a pestle and mortar or in a blender mix the almonds and garlic with a little salt and then add the softened bread until you get a smooth paste.

Slowly add the olive oil, and then the vinegar, finally add the cold water. Adjust the seasoning to taste and put in the fridge to chill fully.

Apart from serving the soup with the aforementioned garnishes you can also top with a little peppermint or drizzle some extra olive oil over the top.

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