Photography is not my strong suit, but this is probably one of the least useful pictures I’ve ever taken:
Is it custard? Butterscotch pudding? Salad dressing? Aioli? From the photo, heaven knows. Conveniently, though, this post has a title, so you can probably guess what it is.
It’s one of my very favorite soups, an odd concoction that supposedly hearkens back to the days when “gazpacho” was basically nothing but stale bread and olive oil rather than tomato-based liquidy salsa. This version, which I first fell in love with at Jaleo, is essentially just pulverized and strained almonds, bread, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, grapes, and cucumber. It turns into a lovely, delicate, and refreshing soup—just right for the tail end of summer.
Unfortunately, this recipe makes quite a small quantity—it was barely enough fill three ramekins. So if you want to feed more people more substantially, I’d recommend doubling the recipe.
3 cups mineral or filtered water
7 ounces blanched almonds
1 clove garlic
3 ounces white bread, torn into small pieces
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
16 seedless grapes
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Combine 1 cup of water, the almonds, and the garlic in a medium pot and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, drain. Pour a fresh cup of water into the pot with the drained almonds and garlic; bring to a boil. Drain again. By now the garlic will have lost much of its pungency, and the almonds will be softened.
Place the garlic and almonds in a blender. Add the remaining 1 cup of water, plus the bread, ½ cup olive oil, sherry vinegar, grapes, cucumber, and salt. Blend the mixture until smooth.
Place a colander lined with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the soup into the colander. Once most of the liquid has passed through the colander, press the mixture gently with a large spoon to release as much liquid as possible [This always takes much longer than I think it will, and often involves some fairly involved manhandling with a ladle.] Discard any unstrained solids, and pour the soup into a pitcher. Chill for at least 30 minutes.