Ajo Blanco (Andalusian White Gazpacho)

This is an interesting soup from the Andalusian region of Spain that is perfect for Summer. Though most folks would consider a chilled soup of cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers to be a “traditional” gazpacho, none of those ingredients are indigenous to Spain, and would not have been available until after the discovery of the new world. Bread- and almond- thickened preparations, on the other hand, are typical of the Ancient Roman recipes of Apicius, the oldest-known Western source of recorded recipes. In all likelihood, the roots of White Gazpacho are tracable to the Roman occupation of the Spanish peninsula.

Both white grapes and diced melon are used to garnish the soup, with tradition preferring white grapes. We use melon at The Manor, however, to capitalize on the availability of excellent locally-grown cantaloupes in season.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups almond butter
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 cloves raw garlic, split, germ romoved
  • 6 ounces crustless sourdough bread, cubed
  • 4 ounces finely diced cantaloupe
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper from the mill


Method

Combine almond butter, water, vinegar, garlic and cubed bread in a blender. Process until silky smooth and creamy-looking.

Transfer to a metal bowl and chill in an ice bath for a few hours or under refrigeration overnight.

Once sufficiently chilled, season to taste with kosher salt.

Serve in chilled serving bowls garnished with a sprinkling of finely diced melon and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.