Ajo blanco is a delicious cold almond and garlic soup typical of southern Spain. Some say it’s the precursor to better known Spanish cold soups like gazpacho and salmorejo. This would make sense, as the ingredients were all available before the discovery of the Americas (unlike tomatoes, the staple of the other recipes).
I’ve been searching for a good ajo blanco recipe for years, so I was thrilled to find out we’d be making it in my culinary school classes. When I opened the recipe I was skeptical at first– one of the ingredients was apple, something I’d never seen in the soup before (except as a topping). But when I tasted the end result I understood why the apple makes a great addition!
This ajo blanco recipe is simple, but there are some tricks to making sure it comes out well. First, try to use Marcona almonds. These delicious Spanish almonds have a unique flavor and really do make a difference. Next, soak the almonds in water overnight. This makes them easier to blend and a lot creamier. As usual, use extra virgin olive oil and ideally Sherry vinegar. And go easy on the garlic — start with a small clove or even half of one (you can always add more!).
Never tasted ajo blanco before? Try this easy recipe and enjoy!
Ajo Blanco Recipe
- 1 cup blanched Marcona almonds, pre-soaked overnight in water, strained
- 2 slices of white bread, dried out overnight and cut into cubes
- 1 small clove of garlic (take out the green germ in the middle)
- 1-2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar (start with one and adjust to taste)
- 1 apple, peeled and diced (something tart and juicy like a Granny Smith or Pink Lady works well)
- Salt to taste
- About 1 cup of cold water
- Ice cubes (if no time to chill)
- About ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Green grapes (optional)
- Place the stale bread into the blender and cover with the cold water and vinegar
- Add the strained almonds, diced apple, and garlic
- Pulse in the blender until smooth
- Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar
- Add ice if serving immediately (to make sure it's fully chilled)
- While blending, slowly add the olive oil
- Taste and adjust seasoning
- Chill in the fridge if you have time
- To serve, top with sliced green grapes
Have you ever tasted ajo blanco? What did you think? What’s your favorite cold soup?