A million years ago, my best friend Calypso (not his real name) sent me a recipe. This may not mean anything to you, but Calyspo's regular fare included cold pizza, cold pizza, ghost pepper curry, and cold pizza. So I was surprised at the sophistication of his choice: a chilled almond soup that eschews any dairy product and instead relies upon pureed nuts and garlic for its creaminess. Paired with sweet seedless grapes, this is a great light summer dish with a crazy flavor punch.
- 3 cups water (more or less, depends on how thick you want your soup)
- 4 oz white bread, crusts cut off
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- A handful of seedless grapes, halved
First, I tore up the bread, put it in a bowl and poured about 3/4 cup of water over it, and let it sit while I prepped the rest of my ingredients.
I put the almonds in another bowl, and poured boiling water over them, just to cover. After about a minute, I drained the almonds and rinsed them with cold water. This loosened the skins enough for me to just pop them off - this process is called blanching. Mark helped me pop the delicious nuts out of their skins.
I dried the almonds well, stuck them in the blender with the garlic cloves and pulsed until I got kind of a mealy paste. I added the bread and pulsed again until well-combined.
I added the oil, pulsed again, then added the sherry vinegar, salt, and remainder of the water until I had a smooth, frothy soup.
I chilled the soup in the fridge for a day to let the flavors really develop, then I added a handful of the halved grapes to my bowl. This is a really interesting, really pungent dish, probably best to be avoided if you don't love the bite of raw garlic. That being said, I loved it (in small quantities). I preferred the addition of more grapes - the sweetness really cuts through the punch of the garlic. Just like my best friend Calypso's personality...and if he ever comes to visit me here in LA (are you listening, Calypso?!!), I'd be happy to make it for him.