Ajo Blanco

By Jenn Rose Smith
A delicious summer soup recipe from Alison Cayne of Haven's Kitchen

A delicious summer soup recipe from Alison Cayne of Haven's KitchenWe learned how to make this chilled soup when Alison Cayne of Haven’s Kitchen came to town and taught us a cooking class (see the full story here). This Andalusia variation of gazpacho makes for a perfect lunch on a hot summer day. Discover more of Alison’s fun recipes in her new book The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School.

A delicious summer soup recipe from Alison Cayne of Haven's KitchenA delicious summer soup recipe from Alison Cayne of Haven's Kitchen

photographed by buff strickland

Ajo Blanco

Serves 4

Ajo Blanco

By Camille Styles


1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

6 garlic cloves, peeled 

2 large slices of sourdough bread, grilled or toasted, crust removed, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups) 

1/2 cup marcona or blanched almonds; reserve 1/4 cup for garnish 

1 english cucumber, peeled and cubed; reserve 1/2 inch to brunoise for garnish 

1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed 

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

fine sea salt

1/2 cup green grapes, halved 


Prepare an ice bath and set a slightly smaller bowl in it. To make a garlic confit, combine the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and warm slowly over the lowest heat possible until the cloves turn light brown, about 15 minutes. Lift out the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside; reserve the oil. You’ll use it to drizzle on the finished soup. Store any remaining oil in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and use it in salad dressings and marinades. Using a blender, purée the bread, 1/4 cup of the almonds, the cucumber, cooked garlic, and 1/2 cup of the water until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup water and continue blending until smooth, adding more water —a few tablespoons at a time if needed to loosen it up. Add the vinegar and then slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the reserved oil from the garlic confit, blending until the mixture has a smooth and silky texture. Add more water if needed to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt. Pour the soup into the prepared bowl in the ice bath. For a very smooth texture, strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl set in the ice bath.  While the soup is chilling, prepare the garnish. Toast and chop the remaining almonds and brunoise the cucumber. When ready to serve, stir the soup until thoroughly chilled. Transfer to serving bowls and drizzle with garlic olive oil. Garnish with toasted, chopped almonds, cucumber brunoise, and halved grapes.

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