White gazpacho -- or ajo blanco -- is a delicious and refreshing variety of gazpacho that's perhaps less known than its classic red counterpart. The base of white gazpacho consists of blanched almonds and garlic that are mashed into a paste. Stale bread (soaked in water to soften it) and olive oil are then added to form an emulsion. Next, cucumbers, grapes, and a shallot are blended in to provide fresh, vibrant flavor, as well as a touch of sweetness that mellows out the garlic. A splash of Spanish sherry vinegar adds just the right amount of acidity to round out the dish.
This dish can be made by tossing all of the ingredients in a blender -- it doesn’t get much easier than that! It can be served at room temperature, but I prefer to refrigerate it for a couple of hours before serving, which gives the flavors plenty of time to meld. You can thin it out with water to achieve the consistency that you like. I like to serve my gazpacho as is, but if you want it completely smooth, you can pass it through a strainer or chinois before serving. —Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
Test Kitchen Notes
Let me just start by saying that I was curious about this recipe -- I love traditional gazpacho, and I'm always looking for things that don't have to be cooked in Austin in the summer. But I have this weird aversion to white food, so I wasn't sure how it would pan out. I'm happy to report that this gazpacho is amazing. The combination of cucumber, grapes, and sherry vinegar is perfectly balanced. The garlic and shallot add sharpness, but mellow if you refrigerate the gazpacho overnight and serve it the next day (which I recommend). And while Sonali suggests that we might want to strain it, I truly loved the texture. I did add a little more salt and vinegar than she called for, but I think that's a matter of personal taste. This is a perfect summer soup. And it's so easy to make -- a big plus when the temperature is over 100. —drbabs
cubed stale white bread from a baguette, Italian loaf, or sliced bread (crusts removed)
1 1/2 cups
cold water, divided
whole, blanched almonds
diced, peeled English cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)
Place the bread cubes in a bowl and pour 1/2 cup water on top to soften them.
Place the almonds and garlic in a blender and purée until finely ground. Add the shallot, cucumber, grapes, oil, vinegar, salt, and softened bread to the blender along with the remaining 1 cup water. Purée until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Add more water to the soup as needed to achieve desired consistency. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serve in bowls or glasses and garnish with sliced grapes, almonds, and chives or scallions, if desired.