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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ajo Blanco

Our table grapes are ready to harvest I am pleased to say - so it's time to make white Gazpacho. I love the creamy texture of this Spanish soup, the big hit of garlic, the crunch of almonds and the fresh taste of sweet grapes. I could be more ambitious and make a red and a green Gazpacho to compliment this one – the three soups would look lovely lined up in shot glasses. Try it!

Serves: exactly 4
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 cups (400ml) chilled water
225g ground almonds
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (sherry or champagne)
Pinch white pepper
1 small bunch white, seedless grapes, split in 4 for garnish
½ cup slivered almonds for garnish
Parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Soak the bread in a little water to soften for 10 minutes. Crush the garlic with some salt using the back of a table knife, drain bread to remove excess water and place bread, garlic and a little water in a blender. Blend briefly, add almonds, and blend a moment more. Gradually add the oil and vinegar. Add the chilled water, one cup at a time – ensuring you have a fairly thick and smooth consistency. Chill well for several hours or overnight in the fridge and by then the consistency will have changed again - it will be just right. Pour into chilled soup plates and garnish with grapes, slivered almonds and a little parsley. Delicious!

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