Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ajo Blanco

I've been craving this soup for a few days after having a garlic soup at dinner over the last weekend.  The flavors are very similar except that ajo blanco is served cold.  It is usually enjoyed in a glass over ice, maybe with a few grapes and apples floating in it.

The plan for my ajo blanco was to make it for dinner so I wanted to incorporate some prepared vegetables and a bit of meat as well. the base for the soup is fairly simple: blanched almonds, roasted garlic, bread, olive oil, vinegar, water, salt, pepper. I decided to top the soup with blanched asparagus, roasted red peppers and some carnitas I picked up from the Mexican grocery store.

To prepare, I used 200g of peeled slivered almonds and blanched them for about 4 minutes. I removed about have of the cooking liquid and added them to my blender.  I roasted 5 garlic cloves (you can use 2 but I like garlic a lot) and added those to the blender as well.  I topped this with 8oz of good olive oil, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I blended until a puree formed, then I ripped off a couple of handfuls of crusty bread (day old is best) and added to the blender along with 12 oz of water.  I blended this all together to get it as smooth as possible, adding salt and pepper to taste.  That's it, soup is done.

To serve I topped with asparagus, red pepper, and carnitas.  The asparagus was simply blanched and the red pepper I roasted and chopped.  The carnitas were already prepared by the butcher and made a great addition to the soup. I finished it with a few drops of olive oil.
I made a more traditional version by splitting green grapes in half and floating them in the soup.  I served in a tall glass with ice and some more olive oil.  The sweetness of the grapes go really well with the garlicky soup and it seems I was able to taste the almond more as a result.

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