Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds

By • October 16, 2012 • 15 Comments


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Author Notes: Ruggedly handsome and mysterious, this is a potato soup that leaves the cock-a-leekies and chowders of the world to quietly play cards, while it goes traveling solo through Andalucia on a moped.

Food52er EmilyC, who tipped us off to this recipe, said, "It's the most beguiling, delicious potato soup I've ever made or eaten." Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef called it the sexiest. Ladle it up, pass it around, and let winter's shackles fall away. Adapted slightly from The New Spanish Table (Workman Publishing Company, 2005)
Genius Recipes

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) finely diced serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or more if needed
  • 1 pinch saffron, crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Dense country bread, for serving
  1. Cut the potatoes into irregular chunks by inserting the tip of a small, sharp knife into a potato and twisting until a 1 1/2 chunk comes out. Repeat until the entire potato is cut up, then continue with the remaining potatoes; set aside. Alternately, roughly chop in 1 1/2 inch chunks. Peeling is optional.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the oil doesn't burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. Add the ham to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup.
  3. Meanwhile, place the almond and garlic mixture in a food processor and grind it. If you like almond bits in your soup, grind the mixture somewhat coarsely; otherwise, grind it fine. Add all but about 2 tablespoons to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Steep the saffron in a few tablespoons of the soup broth for 2 minutes, then add it to the soup. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until about half the potatoes have disintegrated, about 35 minutes. Skim the soup as it cooks if you like, and add a little more stock if the soup seems too thick.
  5. When ready to serve, check the texture of the soup. If you'd like it creamier, break up some of the potatoes with a sturdy spoon. Add the vinegar to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir it into the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more vinegar if necessary. Serve the soup with bread.

Comments (15) Questions (2)

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Stringio

3 months ago Betsey

I've made the version with cod and potatoes. Quick, satisfying and just as mysteriously delicious.

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4 months ago mainesoul

This is a great soup recipe.

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4 months ago Monica L.

I'm eating this now for dinner and it is wonderful! I prefer the thin soup so I just cut up the potato before serving, not squash them. It's the perfect comfort food for my son who is not feeling well. The ingredients are staples that I have around the house so I didn't have to go out and buy stuff. I used bacon in place of the ham and I think it works! I'll definitely make this for the next dinner party, whether I'm hosting it or not. Recipe is now saved in my 'Love These' recipe folder!

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5 months ago Lemoni

This would be okay using whole, unblanched almonds, right?

Miglore

4 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior Editor of Food52

Yes!

Epietzsch

over 1 year ago borntobeworn

I made this tonight and it was fabulous! We used diced ham (because that's what we had on hand). The base of this soup would be perfect for a vegetarian version with peppers, squash, mushrooms, and onions. Really, any veggies that are good in soup would be at home in this broth (using vegetable broth/stock, not chicken stock). The almond base is really amazing :)

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over 1 year ago Anne H

This was delicious and very easy to make. I used pancetta because I did not have prosciutto on hand but will try that next time. We will definitely be making this a lot this winter.

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over 1 year ago pgsmama1

I made this last night. Simple & absolutely scrumptious!

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over 1 year ago MaureenOnTheCape

This was scrumptious and I will most surely make it again. I'll bet it's even more delicious tomorrow.

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over 1 year ago Texas Ex

Great recipe! Get the best ingredients you can find for this--it will pay dividends.
Simple, tangy, and velvety smooth.
Thank you!

Cuckoo-marans-hen

over 1 year ago DeirdreMS

Could you tweak this to make it vegetarian? Any ideas?

Me_and_fb_bw

over 1 year ago Angel

I made a double batch of this today, and truly amazing soup.
First of all, my apologies to the creator of the recipe. I purchased Pancetta instead of prosciutto. It was no problem though, it turned out magnificent!!! I did also follow Chef Lew's suggestion and used smoked paprika.

I served the double batch it to the 4 contractors working on my home, and I only had 2 bowls left after they finished. They were very thankful for such a delicious offering.

I will DEFINITELY make again!

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over 1 year ago Julie McCoy

This looks delicious -- all of my favorite ingredients. Can't wait to try it.

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over 1 year ago Vicky K

Can anyone suggest a source for GOOD saffron?

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over 1 year ago chef lew

Made this as a main course and could not have been happier with the flavors and texture. The only addition I made was smoked Spanish paprika, as seemed fitting. The Serrano ham adds a rich almost nutty taste and the pinch of Saffron is a perfect top note. Will certainly make tis fine soup again.