Friday, March 23, 2007

Ajo Blanco - White Gazpacho

Stale bread is something that we, more often than not, throw away rather than use. Rather a waste considering most cultures see the ingredient feature in some of their most classic dishes such as Bread and Butter Pudding, Pain Perdu and Panzanella to name but a few. Then there's the Spanish dish of Ajo Blanco or White Gazpacho that I'll be making today.

stale bread

The bread I'll be using is this lovely piece of stale Ciabatta - yes, it's an Italian bread in a Spanish dish but I don't think that should matter. What you want is a good quality bread, something with character. Ajo Blanco couldn't be simpler to make - it's a mix of blanched almonds, garlic and bread to which olive oil and sherry vinegar is added before being thinned with water. Chill for a few hours then serve with slices of grapes. It's the ideal no-fuss starter or as I've opted to do, an eye-catching shot.

ajo blanco shots


Ajo Blanco/White Gazpacho

100 grams stale white bread, crusts removed
60 grams blanched almonds
2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
5 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
1 - 1½ cups cold water
sliced grapes, to serve

  • Place the almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground.

  • Soak the bread in cold water and when softened, squeeze to remove excess water and add to processor along with the garlic. Process until combined and then add 1/2 cup water to obtain a smooth mixture.

  • With the motor running, trickle in the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time - similar process to making mayonnaise. When all the oil has been added, trickle in the sherry vinegar.

  • Pour this out into a bowl and whisk in enough water to give it the consistency of cream. Taste and if necessary add a little more vinegar.

  • Chill for a few hours before serving.

ajo blanco or white gazpacho

The traditional garnish are slices of grapes - I quite like the red skinned variety, they provide a lovely contrast to the creamy white soup.

ajo blanco or white gazpacho


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16 comments:

  1. that is totally stunning!
    The presentation - wow - I am speechless.
    I always have those ingredients in my household.
    The trouble is I am not sure if it is yet quite warm enough for cold soup.

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  2. Thanks Sam - if it's warm enough for white wine it's probably okay weather for this soup. Just served as a shot it's gets the taste buds working.

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  3. Just beautiful. Your cooking is inspirational :)

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  4. what a neat recipe! i've never seen bread used like this, i'd love to try it. beautiful presentations too :)

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  5. I have heard of white gazpacho but have never tried it- your's looks beautiful. Sounds like a great summer tapas!

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  6. Thank you Truffle, that is kind of you!

    Thanks Aria - the beauty of a dish like this is in it's approachability, it's made with ingredients that we usually have.

    Thanks Deborah - it would be ideal as part of a tapas selection.

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  7. Oh my goodness so pretty!

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  8. Okay, I give in, I'm dying of curiosity to find out how this tastes. Guess I'd better make it!

    Lovely use of candleholders as bowls! That's creative and beautiful.

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  9. Thanks Danielle - they certainly cause a reaction when you offer them to your guests and they are just the right size to get those taste buds tingling. I hope you enjoy the Ajo Blanco!

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  10. I'm a bit late to the party, I know - followed a link from Sam's blog to get this recipe (without which, by all accounts, my life won't be complete!). I can't believe how simple this is to make - where was this recipe for my last dinner party?! I am definitely makign a note of it for the next one though. And what inspired styling for your photos...

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  11. Thanks Jeanne - it's so simple it's almost wrong but the taste is something that is hard to imagine. Hope you enjoy it!

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  12. matt at Uovo in the east village made the best ajo blanco on the planet. too bad the place is closed

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  13. Hi Anon, maybe this is a good opportunity to try making it for yourself.

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  14. I love the photos...just brilliant, really inspires you to have a go and make the dish - in fact they are better than the photos in the food pages of the Sunday supplement of El País (a very well-respected Spanish broadsheet for readers who don't it)

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  15. Thank you Hodgepodge, that is very kind of you.

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