ajo blanco - spanish summer soup

AJO BLANCO

Summer has finally arrived in London. It’s amazing how we’ve shifted from unsettled, rainy weather to full summer with very little transition. The sun is welcome though; it has been a long time coming.

A long time ago, I had a Spanish flatmate who had a multisite job and would travel between sites on his bike, covering miles and miles of London. Invariably, when he returned home in the evening, he would pull the blender out of the cupboard and blitz up a version of Ajo Blanco which he would gulp down as a snack before he started to cook his evening meal.

Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre, so it’s unsurprising they form the basis of a soup designed to be eaten in the summer heat of Andalucía from where it originates. It’s both refreshing and restorative. For me, Ajo Blanco feels luxuriant and indulgent in its creaminess. It is also the perfect way to use up bread that’s been sitting around for a couple of days. Although, traditionally eaten with sliced grapes, I had made a little dill oil the day before and had an apple in the fruit bowl. I diced the apple up into little square pieces and added some dried cranberries from store cupboard to create a jewel like twinkle in the bowl. It’s perfect to take on picnics.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup stale bread, blitzed into crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green apple, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp dill oil

Soak the almonds in the water overnight or for a couple of hours, then simply blitz all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. You can add additional water until it creates the consistency you want if you would like to make it into a drink. Mix together the fruit and drop a spoonful into each bowl before serving. Serve cold.