Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Post Spotlight: Ajo Blanco

Today I am excited to welcome my friend Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me.  Norma is a Latina that cooks great food from the soul.  Her cuisine is one that I can identify with and appreciate.

Classics like...


Mami's Carne Guisada: Puerto Rican Beef Stew


Tumbet Mallorquin

Not only is Norma a wonderful cook but she is one of the genuine nice people blogging today.

Enjoy...

Ajo Blanco - White Gazpacho or Almond + Garlic Cold Soup





I was so excited to be asked by Lazaro, a blogger I admire and with whom I share cultural ties, to do a guest post. His creative spin on dishes is remarkable. I once called him the "Rock 'n Roll DJ of Food".

I once read that Ajo de Blanco is the grandfather of the Gazpacho which is the tomato-based cold soup we all know and love.

It's a poor man's soup. The use of bread, water and garlic was an inexpensive way to feed the field workers. Later the Moors brought the almonds which added extra nutrition and flavor to the soup.

Today, we cannot call it “poor” because of the quantity of almonds required. I find it a bit expensive, but why haggle when it is so mouth watering.   I like those little bits of almonds that could not be processed. You can, if you wish, pass it through a colander for a velvety taste.

The first time I tasted Ajo Blanco it was served in an ice bowl and I was so impressed by its simplicity and elegance.  Unfortunately, my ice bowl did not make it.

Adapted from Chef Jose Andres’ recipe.
Ingredients:
  •   2 slices of white day old bread, crusts discarded
  •      7 oz blanched almonds
  •      1 large clove of garlic
  •      1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  •      2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  •      2 teaspoons salt
  •      2 – 2-1/2 cups of mineral water

Garnish:
Thin slices of bread, grapes, almonds, dates or figs.
Directions:
Put the bread in a bowl and water to cover. Let soak for 5 minutes until softened.
Meanwhile, place the almonds and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse until almonds are finely ground.


Squeeze out the water from the bread and add to the food processor. Blend to a smooth paste.
With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream, then the vinegar and salt. Thin the ingredients with the water to the desired consistency.

Place the blended contents in a tureen, wooden bowl or pitcher. Taste and add more salt and/or vinegar if necessary. The soup should be fairly tangy. 

Chill until serving time. Stir before serving into bowls and garnish.


BUEN PROVECHO!
Thank you Lazaro for this incredible opportunity to be added to your circle of bloggers.

Please visit Norma over at Platanos, Mangoes & Me.

16 comments:

  1. I am so excited and proud to be a guest on your blog.

    Gracias querido.

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  2. Hi Norma, so nice to meet you :) This is such an intriguing soup and one that I have yet to try. I am imagining that the texture would be so incredible!
    Thank you both for the wonderful guest post and introduction to a new dish :)

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  3. Nice to meet you Norma! I have not had this soup, but as a real garlic lover I intend to remedy that situation asap. Fab post!

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  4. I love Norma and her blog! She is an amazing cook and It is nice to see her here!

    P.S. Lazaro- Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  5. Nice to meet you, i, too, am a fan of Laz. His dishes inspire me so much. I love your post, it is so different and new!!! Garlic and almonds.. awesome!

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  6. ooh...I've never had this but it's love at first sight! Great presentation too. I want some!

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  7. Hi Norma, it's nice to meet you. I'm a fan of all sorts of soup, hot, cold, chunky, smooth, etc. Loving the soup you have chosen to share with us here. You've presented it beautifully as well. I've not had this befor - sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing this unique soup, Norma.

    Thank you again, Laz!

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  8. Thank you for introducing such a great blogger! Norma, this soup looks divine! Definitely not a poor man's soup with all the garlic and almonds in it! Wonderful presentation as well!

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  9. Norma, Wonderful guest post! Your Puerto Rican Beef Stew looks fantastic...it's starting to get a bit colder here and this is just the sort of thing I've been craving. The Ajo Blanco sounds great too! Love your gorgeous presentation of it.

    Laz, I've tagged you in my most recent post! ;)

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  10. Norma, this is a lovely soup with almonds and grapes. And I love your creative presentations!

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  11. Hello Norma! What a beautiful soup! I enjoyed reading about the history of this soup as well as all these delicious pictures. I've never tried this and I'd definitely want to try this now. Lazaro, thanks for introducing Norma. :-)

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  12. What a stunning recipe, Norma! Beautiful pictures and a terrific guest post! Thanks!

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  13. Beautiful presentation! I've never tried making this cold soup at home, but I need to change that.

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  14. Nice to meet you. I love your dramatic presentation and the evocative photos... really lovely. gazpacho never looked so good!

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  15. Hi Norma, nice to meet you! I quite agree with the name Rock N Roll DJ for food hahaha.

    Simplicity sometimes works best in a circumstance, so is this gazpacho!

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