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White gazpacho is a modern take on a traditional cold soup dish from Spain. While gazpacho consists of a bread and tomato base, white gazpacho replaces the cheery tomatoes with cooling cucumbers, almonds and garlic. This chilled soup makes an excellent appetizer, or can be served with crusty bread and fruit for a filling spring or summer lunch.
White gazpacho may be less famous than its tomato-filled predecessor, but it is no less delicious. The aromatic and pungent garlic blends nicely with stale bread, almonds and mild cucumbers for an impressively layered flavor. Gazpacho should be chilled for a few hours before serving; the soup is quite rich, and large portions are probably not necessary.
To make a basic white gazpacho, combine several garlic cloves, three peeled cucumbers, and one cup (236 ml) of blanched almonds in a blender. Add sherry or white wine vinegar to taste, and blend with 1/2 a cup (118 ml) of Spanish olive oil. Although more easily found Italian olive oil may be used, the fruity character of Spanish varieties will truly complement the flavors of the soup. Add three to four pieces of bakery bread, preferably left out overnight to become stale.
After blending, you may strain or partially strain the soup if desired, although some people prefer the chunky texture of the initial product. Chill for several hours or overnight, occasionally testing the seasoning and adding salt, pepper, vinegar or oil as preferred. If you have strained the soup, try serving in individual shot glasses. Otherwise, ladle the soup into chilled bowls, over a bed of sliced green grapes and cherry tomatoes. As bizarre as grapes and garlic soup sound together, this combination is a classical favorite among Spanish food lovers.
White gazpacho is a great start to a Spanish-themed meal, and pairs well with other typical regional offerings. If serving as an appetizer, lay out trays of Spanish olives and marinated mushrooms to complement the dish. A Spanish sparkling wine such as cava will pair well with the soup, or try it with any dry white wine such as Pinot Gris. White gazpacho is a very simple dish with little preparation time, making it a perfect soup for practicing and experimenting with Spanish cuisine. The dish is traditionally served in summer and late spring, but if you find yourself craving the garlic and almond treat mid-January, you thankfully won’t need to go far to find the ingredients.
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