Citizens, ajo blanco is a popular Spanish cold soup typical of Granada and Málaga (Andalusia). This Andalucian dish is made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes vinegar. Ajo blanco is also a common dish in the Extremadura region (Ajo Blanco Extremeño).
Andalucian ajo blanco is usually served with grapes or slices of melon. When almonds were not available, for instance during the post-war period, flour from dried beans was used.
Ajo blanco is sometimes referred to as “white gazpacho.” Every year in the town of Almáchar, Málaga, a festival is held on September 2nd to celebrate Andalusian ajo blanco.
The dish possibly has its origins in the Al-Andalus cuisine, given that almonds are the main ingredient of the dish. Either Seville or Málaga invented the dish, although its exact origin is unknown.
Extremaduran ajoblanco (ajoblanco extremeño) is a related though somewhat different dish, since it contains egg yolk in the emulsion apart from water, olive oil, garlic and bread and while vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumbers may be added, it doesn’t usually contain almonds. The dish has its origins in the Roman cuisine, which was introduced the Roman Province of Hispania. It would eventually become a traditional dish of Andalucía.
My version of this Andalucian recipe involves quick pickling the grapes in 2 different mild vinegars, an herb-infused olive oil and a fried wafer of Spanish ham and a garnish of both chervil leaves and borage flowers.
Citizens, I believe you will find my version to be both firmly grounded in tradition as well as innovating in new ways. This is by far one of the most refreshing soups in my entire, vast culinary database of tens of thousands of recipes – I hope you will see fit to add it to your own repertoire at the earliest opportunity!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- Pickled Grapes:
- 2 cups bottled water
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- ½ cup champagne vinegar
- 20 green grapes, halved
- Ajo Blanco:
- 1½ cups 1-inch fresh bread cubes from a half loaf of rustic-style bread
- 1¾ cups water (preferably filtered or bottled)
- 1 cup skinned raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 2½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves
- 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Thin slices of jamon iberico (or prosciutto)
- Borage flowers for garnish (optional)
- Some fresh chervil leaves for garnish
- Make the pickled grapes: In a large saucepan set over high heat, boil the water, sugar and vinegars until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl, add the grape halves, pour the vinegar mixture over the grapes and set aside to cool completely. Use a slotted spoon to remove the grape halves and set aside.
- Make the ajo blanco: In a large bowl, cover the bread cubes with ½ cup of water and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Drain the bread and squeeze out the extra liquid, then place the bread in a blender. Add the almonds, garlic and ¾ cup of water and purée into a smooth paste, adding enough of the remaining ½ cup of water to yield a very smooth mixture.
- Combine the olive oil and tarragon leaves in a blender. Let sit for 10 minutes, strain and reserve.
- Add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream to emulsify the sauce. Pour into an airtight container, stir in the vinegar, season with salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, fry the ham slices until crispy, put soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a ham crisp, borage flowers and chervil.
- Calories: 598.08 kcal
- Sugar: 81.24 g
- Sodium: 1042.4 mg
- Fat: 21.36 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.93 g
- Trans Fat: 0.01 g
- Carbohydrates: 95.16 g
- Fiber: 5.35 g
- Protein: 9.97 g
- Cholesterol: 1.31 mg
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