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Ajo blanco

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Ajo blanco
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
1

Combine 1 cup of water, the almonds and the garlic in a medium pot and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, drain.

2

Pour a fresh cup of water into the pot and add the drained almonds and garlic; bring to a boil. Drain once again. By now the garlic will have lost much of its strength and the almonds will be softened.

3

Place the garlic and almonds in a blender. Add the mineral water, bread, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth.

4

Place a colander over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Pour the soup into the colander. Once most of the liquid has passed through the colander, gather the cheesecloth around the remaining solids and squeeze gently to release as much liquid as possible from the solids. Discard the solids.

5

Pour the soup into a pitcher and chill for at least 30 minutes (several hours is even better). Before serving, if necessary, thin the soup with water to the consistency of cream.

6

Divide the boquerones into four or six portions. Serve the soup in small soup bowls garnished in the middle with a tablespoon of diced pear and the boquerones, and a swirl of olive oil.

Recipe adapted from Ajo blanco Malagueño (almond, garlic and grapes gazpacho) in “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” by José Andrés with Richard Wolffe. The idea for the garnish comes from the Madrid restaurant La Tasquita de Enfrente. If you have the time, Andres suggests soaking the almonds overnight in mineral water to cover. It helps bring out the almond’s natural milk, he says.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
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