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  Ajo Blanco (White Gazpacho)

In the heat of midsummer, Ajo blanco (white gazpacho) and the more common tomato based gazpacho are the quickest and most delicious coolants we know. This recipe is at least 1,000 years old, dating back to the time when the Moors ruled much of Southern Spain.
Ingredients (serves 4) 8 oz/240g stale, good quality white bread (crusts cut off) 2 cloves garlic, peeled A little sea salt 3 tbsp or so best extra-virgin Spanish olive oil 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (a good one like Valdespino) 3 oz/100g ground almonds (use a fresh packet) 1 pt/600ml ice-cold water 8 oz/240g seedless grapes, halved
Method Wet the bread under the cold tap then squeeze the water out. Tear into small pieces and put in the blender with the garlic, salt and olive oil. Whizz briefly. Add the vinegar, almonds and about three-quarters of the cold water and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the water in a continuous stream with the blender on and whizz until you have a pallid cream. Adjust the seasoning and put into a cold bowl in the fridge for two hours to let the flavours mingle. Serve into cold bowls and finish with the grapes and a drizzle of oil. It really is as simple and easy as making a milkshake. Just remember to keep everything well chilled. Recommended wine: A well chilled fino sherry or manzanilla (try Tio Pepe or La Gitana)


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