I'm beating the heat today with the 3rd in the series of my No cook Gazpacho. Lunch was a cucumber sandwich and a bowl of this delicious chilled white Grape and Almond Gazpacho. Quick to make, tasty and lovely to look at too.
It is really impossible to cook in this weather. Bangalore is climbing dizzily to nearly 40 degrees Celsius, and there is no sign of rain or even light summer showers. Its early summer and I wonder what its going to be like in May and June when the heat is usually at its worst.
This Grape and Almond Gazpacho is such a pretty soup, and easy to make. Just organise all the ingredients and blend them together. Its chilling in the fridge now, and will be ready for lunch. The only effort, if at all, required is to blanch the almonds. Blanching the almonds takes just a few minutes and gives the soup its rich creamy texture and its pale colour. Almonds with the skin on will change the colour to a pale brown and of course, affect the texture.
To know How to Blanch Almonds, please click here and see my instructions in the first part of my recipe for Almond Jam Sandwiches.
The Recipe for the Chilled White Grape and Almond Gazpacho is based on the original Spanish Gazpacho. Traditionally, it was made by pounding together on a mortar, almonds, bread, salt, garlic, oil and vinegar. The grapes and cucumber are from a more modern version. The red tomato and peppers versions of gazpacho we are familiar with came later, after tomatoes and peppers were introduced into Spain from the Americas.
Ajo Blanco - a No cook White Grape and Almond Gazpacho
- ½ cup Almonds - Blanched
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup white bread - (pieces)
- 1 cup Grapes - Green seedless
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1 cup white grape juice - or ice cold water
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper - Ground
- Almonds - for Garnish
- Grapes - for Garnish
- The white grape juice or water used to make the soup should be ice cold in temperature.
- Peel and slice the Cucumber, mince the parsley. Select white bread that is about a day old, remove the crust and tear to pieces. 1 used 2 slices of bread. You may substitute sherry vinegar for the white wine vinegar.
- Blanch the almonds (check the link in the notes below and in the introduction above, for How to Blanch Almonds) The almonds must be blanched, otherwise the colour of the soup will change from white to a pale brown and both taste and texture will be affected. Reserve a few of the blanched almonds and grapes for garnish.
- Grind the rest of the blanched almonds into a powder.
- Soak the bread for about 30 seconds in just enough water to cover it, squeeze lightly and add to the almond powder in the food processor. Add the garlic, cucumber, grapes, parsley and vinegar into the food processor. Run the processor for 30 seconds.
- Add the olive oil and half the cold grape juice (or water), the salt and pepper and run the processor till the soup is blended. You may need to blend the soup in batches, as the liquids may overflow during processing. Add the rest of the grape juice (or water) till the soup reaches the consistency you are comfortable with.
- I like a little texture in my soups, so that they don't turn out like smoothies, so I added a few grapes and almonds in the end, running the processor for just 10 seconds.
- Remove the soup from the processor and chill, covered, in the fridge, for at least an hour, until ready to serve.
- Serve cold, garnished with slices of grape, sliced almonds and extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top.