Ajo, Almendras, Almonds, Chilled Soup, Garlic, Sopa De Ajo Blanco, Soup
Here in southern Spain, those of us with almond trees make this soup with the first of the new harvest nuts. Cool and creamy, with a hint of garlic and the fruitiness of olive oil it is delightfully refreshing in the heat of summer and making it has become one of those traditions that one looks forward to each August.
Making this soup used to be a labour of love involving much pounding of garlic and nuts with a pestle in a large mortar, nowadays with the aid of a liquidiser it is a much less labour intensive task to make. Having said that, it is only when the almonds are fresh that the graininess will disappear with blending. It is possible to make the soup with drier almonds, but you will have to strain it after blending to make sure that the texture is smooth and creamy.
Of course for us locals we still have to pick the almonds in the heat, shell them and them remove the inner brown skin, so this is not the dish for those in a hurry.
SOPA DE AJO BLANCO
FOR 4-6 People
1 small clove garlic
Half a teaspoon of salt
100 grams fresh almonds
50 ml fresh fruity olive oil
1 litre cold water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
50 grams fresh white bread without crusts
2 tablespoons small yellow raisins
Half a sweet eating apple cut into small dice
Peel the garlic clove and with the salt pound to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add some of the oil and water and pound to mix. Put into the goblet of your liquidiser.
If you are starting with fresh off the tree almonds then weigh the kernels after cracking the shells and removing them.
To remove the brown skins, put the nuts into a plastic container and pour boiling water over them. Leave to soak for two to three minutes, then drain them and put them into cold water. The skins will peel off easily.
Add the nuts to the garlic in the liquidiser and whizz to grind them.
Add the rest of the olive oil, the bread cut into cubes, the vinegar and enough of the water that the mixture can make a thick sauce. Whizz for a couple of minutes until all is smooth.
Add the rest of the water and whizz again until very smooth and all graininess of the almonds has gone.
Check for seasoning. The soup may need more salt or vinegar.
Put the soup into a container that will fit into the fridge. Add the raisins and apple cubes, then leave the soup to chill for several hours before serving.
The soup may separate out a bit with the solids coming to the top of the mix, but don’t worry simply stir it back to an emulsion again.