Now that summer is drawing to its inevitable close down this part of the world, it is time to hold the things of this season to us closely. One of the great ways we can do it is with cold summer soups, the most famous of which is Spanish gazpacho closely flowed by vichysoisse. We have a favourite –much less well known but fabulous– often called white gazpacho . The main ingredients of almonds, sweet green seedless grapes, garlic,cucumber, the best olive oil you can afford and seasoning to suit your palate, make it superb on a summer table. Ajo Blanco means white garlic so don’t stint on it. I like it with a shake of smoked paprika. Try it for a flavour sensation. Goes brilliantly with Robertson Chenin—get a box –don’t be shy—great value for every day wine.
1 cup blanched almonds ( 170g),
3 cups (720ml) chicken or vegetable stock
1 to 3 medium cloves garlic (depending on how strong you want the garlic flavour to be)
Small bunch garlic chives
Small peeled seeded cucumber in chunks
225g fresh, crustless rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup green seedless grapes
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 for serving
Green seedless grapes, crushed toasted almonds, for garnish
1.In a blender, combine almonds with stock and garlic and blend at high speed until milky; you may need to stop and scrape down sides of blender jar once or twice. Add bread and blend until very smooth. Season with salt, then blend in vinegar, grapes, chives, cucumber and olive oil. Add cold water if it is too thick.How easy is that??
- Transfer soup to a sealed container and refrigerate until very well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- To Serve: Cut up grapes into smaller pieces and toss with almonds, 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, adding more salt and/or vinegar, if desired. Pour into chilled serving bowls. Spoon grape garnish on top, lightly drizzling more olive oil onto each serving in a decorative manner. Salivating as I read this.