Ajo Blanco: Chilled Spanish Almond Soup
> 1 slice of stale bread, crust removed
> 1/2 cup water
> 1 garlic clove
> 1/4 cup blanched almonds
> 1 Tblsp sherry vinegar
> 1/2 cup olive oil
> 2 cups ice water
> 24 grapes, green and seedless
Soak bread in water for 1 minute. Squeeze dry.
Pound garlic with salt into a paste.
Grind almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add garlic, bread, and vinegar. With motor running, add oil and ice water. Blend well.
Force puree through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Refrigerate covered until cold, about 3 hours.
Before serving, season soup with salt and sherry vinegar if necessary. Serve topped with grapes.
Variation: Add shrimp as a topping or fresh edible flowers in addition to the grapes.
* Recipe via our chef on the Spain program, Kim Schiffer. Kim Schiffer has cooked professionally for 29 years. She has worked at Zibbibo in Florence and in California at Chez Panisse and Zuni Café, and has traveled and studied in Morocco with PMCA.
* Photo courtesy The Wright Recipes.