Ajoblanco

From Nelson’s Kitchen
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We start in Malaga in the very South of Spain, just Northeast to Gibraltar with a very traditional Ajoblanco de Malaga, which is also known as a Spanish White Gazpacho. It is a creamy cold white soup. The most prominent flavours in Ajoblanco are almonds, olive oil, and garlic. The traditional recipe features raw garlic which would give a prominent assertive garlic flavour. I cannot tolerate that flavour. Thus my adaptation is to roast the garlic gently in olive oil to achieve a much milder and sweeter garlic flavour — citizens of Malaga would likely protest this change, but this is my Brazilian heritage in action.

Ingredients:
 
Procedure:
 
  1. Roast the Garlic
    • Put two tablespoons of the olive oil into your smallest saucepan.
    • Slice the cloves of garlic on half and add to the saucepan.
    • Put over a slow simmer and roast until garlic turns a pale blond colour.
    • Immediately pour the garlic and garlic cloves into a cold small dish and reserve.
  2. Soak the Bread
    • Combine bread and water in bowl and let soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Process Almonds and Bread
    • Process 2 1/2 cups almonds in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of processor as needed.
    • Using your hands, remove bread from water, squeeze it lightly, and transfer to food processor with almonds. Reserve the water.
    • Add roasted garlic with its oil, vinegar, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and cayenne to blender and process until mixture has consistency of cake batter, 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add Olive Oil
    • With processor running, add olive oil in thin, steady stream, about 30 seconds.
    • Add reserved soaking water and process for 1 minute.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Strain the Soup
    • Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid.
    • Discard solids.
  6. Adding Almond Extract
    • Measure 1 tablespoon of soup into second bowl and stir in almond extract.
    • Return 1 teaspoon of extract mixture to soup; discard remainder.
    • Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  7. Toast Almonds
    • Warm oven to 300 F.
    • Mix remaining 1/3 cup of sliced almonds with the vegetable oil and spread on a light-coloured baking sheet.
    • Toast almonds, stirring from time to time, until they are lightly toasted.
    • Remove and let it cool off.
  8. Serve the Soup
    • Ladle soup into shallow bowls.
    • Mound an equal amount of grapes in center of each bowl.
    • Sprinkle cooled almonds over soup and drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve immediately.