Ajoblanco (sometimes written ajo blanco) is a popular Spanish cold soup typical from Granada and Málaga (Andalusia). It is also a common dish in Extremadura (Ajo Blanco Extremeño). This dish is made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes vinegar. It is usually served with grapes or slices of melon. When almonds were not available, for instance during the post-war period, flour from dried beans was used. Ajoblanco is sometimes referred to as “white gazpacho.”
The dish possibly has its origins in the Al-Andalus cuisine, given that almonds are the main ingredient of the dish. Either Seville or Málaga invented the dish, although its exact origin is unknown.
The bread (generally hard bread) is soaked overnight in order to soften it. The almonds and the garlic are mixed together (sometimes with vinegar) with a mortar and pestle until a white paste is formed. Finally water and olive oil are added and the mixture is beaten until it has an emulsion-like texture.
In some areas of Granada it is customary to eat it as an accompaniment to a “papa asá” (baked potato). When it is eaten in this way it is made slightly less thickly so as to be able to be drunk directly from a glass. In Málaga it is served with moscatel grapes and sometimes with pieces of other fresh fruit such as apple or melon. Nowadays ajoblanco is also commonly served with other combinations.
Every year in the town of Almáchar, Málaga, a festival is held on 2 September to celebrate ajoblanco.
- ½ cup blanched, peeled almonds
- 3-4 slices stale baguette or white bread
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 - 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 16-20 seedless green grapes (optional)
- salt, to taste
- Blanch and peel almonds. Dry thoroughly with paper towel and set aside.
- Peel garlic. Trim crust from bread slices if using French-style or rustic bread. Place bread in 1-2 cups cold water to soak.
- While bread is soaking, place garlic and almonds into a food processor or blender. Blend on pulse until smooth. Remove bread from water with slotted spatula and squeeze out excess water. Tear bread into quarters and add bread and 1 teaspoon salt to processor or blender. Blend on pulse.
- While blending, slowly drizzle olive oil, then vinegar, and finally the water into blender or processor. Taste. Adjust salt, vinegar and oil to taste.
- Strain through a sieve into a container or bowl. Press as much as possible through the sieve. Seal and chill at least 2-3 hours or overnight. Serve in chilled bowls or glass mugs, with grapes on side.