‘Ajoblanco’ soup

Ajoblanco is a typical cold soup made with almonds, garlic, bread and olive oil from the Axarquía , the eastern part of the Málaga province in southern Spain. It is a traditional dish with very ancient origins tracing back to Roman times when they introduced it to the province then known as Hispania. This soup is sometimes known as ‘gazpacho blanco” or white gazpacho. There are towns such as Almáchar in Málaga that even have a yearly ajoblanco festival at the beginning of September. Such is the importance of this dish in the southern region of Andalusia.

Traditionally it was made in a pestle and mortar and the bread used was usually stale and soaked, which is a recurrent theme in Spanish food as a way to not let anything go to waste. Nowadays with high speed blenders it reduces the amount of work considerably and also gives a lovely smooth texture, and does a great job of emulsifying the oil and water in the soup.

Ajoblanco is usually served with green moscatel grapes (although you can use any seedless grape too), or chopped melon. Some people even use apple, it really depends on what you have. The fruit gives a lovely balance to the harshness of the garlic and acidity of the vinegar without being too sweet.

For illustration purposes I prepared some parsley oil to drizzle on top but it really isn’t necessary or customary. This recipe belongs to Matilde, a dear friend who makes a wonderful ajoblanco and was kind enough to let me have the recipe.

‘Ajoblanco’ soup
Yield: 2 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Cooking time:

Description

Ajoblanco is a typical cold soup made with almonds, garlic, bread and olive oil from the eastern region of Málaga province known as the Axarquía. Ajoblanco is usually served with green moscatel grapes or chopped melon.

Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 80 g almonds, blanched
  • 50 g bread (without the crust)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 600 ml of cold water
  • seedless grapes or chopped melon
  • 3 oz almonds, blanched
  • 1¾ oz white bread (without the crust)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2½ cups of cold water
  • seedless grapes or chopped melon

Instructions

  1. Place the blanched almonds, bread (without the crust, only the soft white interior), the garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt in a blender with half of the water (300 ml).
  2. Blend until fine and smooth. Some high power blenders like the ones to make smoothies do a very good job, however if you don’t have one of those you may need to blend and then sieve.
  3. Pass the soup through a sieve if necessary to remove any solids.
  4. Add the rest of the water and mix well.
  5. Serve immediately with grapes or chopped melon.

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