Ajo Blanco

Ajo Blanco

Serves 6

10 ounces, blanched slivered almonds

6 cloves garlic, peeled, inner green germ removed if necessary, roughly chopped

2 cups   peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber

2 cup dried white breadcrumbs

3 cups  ice-cold water, plus a little more if necessary

2tsp sea salt

½ cup extra virgin olive oil [the finer the oil, the better]

2-3tbsp sherry vinegar, to taste

A little extra olive oil

½ cup sliced green grapes


Sprinkle the cucumber lightly with salt. Cover with a paper towel and weight lightly. This will remove excess water from the cucumber and soften the flavor.

Put the almonds in a frying pan and place over a low heat. Shaking them around a bit for a minute or two, allow the almonds to slightly gild; the palest, very palest tinge is all that is necessary, just to accentuate the taste of the nut. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool.

Peel the garlic cloves. Put them into a sauce pan and cover with water. Slowly bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Cool.

Combine 2 cups water, the almonds, garlic, and bread in a food processor and let sit until bread is softened, 4–5 minutes; add the cucumber and purée until smooth. With the motor running, add remaining water, the oil, vinegar, and salt; purée until soup is emulsified. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with more oil; garnish with grapes.

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