Spain’s southern coastal region Andalusia is famous for its chilled soups—most notably, that raw, tomatoey sipper so popular in the States. But gazpacho’s neglected Andalusian sister ajo blanco will ruin you for all other hot-weather soups. Olympia Provisions' former executive chef Alex Yoder perfects the simple garlic-almond blend, making his almond milk from scratch for a silky-smooth, sherry-revved, garlic-forward bowl that revives on hazy summer nights. (Resist the urge to use store-bought almond milk. It’s a mistake.)
Garlic Almond Soup
- 1¼ lbs slivered blanched almonds
- Sea salt
- 2 quarts water
- 4 brioche rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, germ removed
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- ½ bunch green garlic (or green onions), sliced thin
- Ground black pepper
MAKE THE ALMOND MILK Line a large strainer with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl or container. Put half the blanched almonds in a blender with a pinch of sea salt and pour in just enough of the measured water to cover the almonds. Purée; as the mixture thickens, slowly add more water until you have added 1 quart. Pour this mixture into the prepared strainer. Repeat the process, blending the second half of the almonds with the second quart of water. Cover with a cloth and let strain in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
BLEND THE SOUP After 8 hours, discard the almond solids* from the strainer. To the remaining almond milk, add brioche, vegetable oil, 1 cup olive oil, garlic cloves, and another good pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Put six serving bowls in the refrigerator to chill. Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender and then pass it through a fine-mesh strainer set over a container.
SEASON AND SERVE Stir in the sherry vinegar and salt to taste. Serve in the chilled bowls garnished with green garlic, the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and black pepper. (Without garnishes, this soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
* Repurpose what’s essentially almond meal by drying it in a 200-degree oven for several hours and adding it to pancake batter, baked goods, or smoothies.
Recipe adapted from the Olympia Provisions cookbook