White Spanish Almond Gazpacho
Published by WW Norton
Traveling with two young vegetarian daughters in Spain, a country that enjoys a carnivorous diet, can be a gustatory challenge. When Cara did this, help cropped up in some surprising places, like the cafeteria of the Prado Museum in Madrid, where we found an unusual white gazpacho. This style of gazpacho is nearer to its Andalusian origins than the chilled, chunky, tomato-filled soup we see frequently today. White gazpacho is based on almonds, garlic, and stale bread and has been a staple in Spain since medieval times. Spanish-grown Marcona almonds are typically used for their sweet, delicate flavor. Once a filling meal for the poor, made of readily available ingredients, it is now a showcase for the rich flavor of lightly toasted almonds and roasted garlic. Our version is based on the delightful flavors we found that day in Madrid.
Preparation Time1 hr
Preparation Time - Text1 hour, plus 2 hours to chill
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, main course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian
Taste and Texturecreamy, garlicky, savory
Type of Dishcold soup, soup
- 1 bulb garlic
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups (6 ounces) Marcona almonds or slivered almonds
- 3 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 3 cups cold water or white grape juice
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- ½ pound seedless green grapes, cut in half
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives reserved almonds and grapes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the top ½ inch or so off the garlic bulb (a serrated knife works well for this). Drizzle the cut part with 1 tablespoon olive oil and loosely wrap the garlic in aluminum foil. Place directly on the bottom rack and bake until the garlic is golden, soft, and tender, about 45 minutes. Unwrap the garlic and cool.
While the garlic is roasting, spread the almonds in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the top rack until just beginning to color, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir them once or twice as they bake so they color evenly. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and cool.
Cut the bread into ½-inch cubes. Put them on the baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and cool.
Place the bread in a large bowl and pour 2 cups water or grape juice over it. Let it stand until the bread is good and soggy, about 30 minutes. The bread will absorb most of the liquid and act as a thickener for the soup. Using grape juice instead of water will yield a slightly sweeter soup, but the texture will be the same.
Reserve ¼ cup almonds and place the remainder in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground, about 20 to 30 seconds. Squeeze the pulp from 4 cloves of the roasted garlic and add it to the ground almonds. Continue to process until a thick paste forms, another 20 seconds. (Unused roasted garlic can be refrigerated and saved for another recipe.) Add the cucumbers and continue to process until pureed, 30 seconds more. Reserve ¼ cup grape halves, place the remainder in the work bowl, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Squeeze the water or juice from the bread and add the bread to the mixture, processing until no large pieces remain, 30 to 45 seconds. The light green soup will resemble the hue of a pale honeydew melon.
Pour the soup into a large bowl and whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the vinegar. Continue to whisk while adding the remaining 1 cup water or grape juice. Season with the salt and pepper and chill for 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with the reserved almonds and grapes and the chives. As with all chilled soups, it is a good idea to check the seasonings before serving and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Store any leftovers in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Cara Tannenbaum & Andrea Tutunjian