“Nice day for a white wedding…” drawled Billy Idol in his black voice on my phone as I wrestled (like I do everyday) with the lunch menu for a warm Saturday afternoon. His words lit the end of a long fuse in my brain, exploding in a star-burst of an idea to make a cold, white soup I’d seen in my newest cookbook – Fresh Spanish by Sergio Vasquez gifted to me by a friend. Simple, classic and elegant, this soup is ‘different’ and stylish enough to wow guests at a celebratory or casual lunch. With no butter, cheese or meat, it’s as healthy as they come; packed with the goodness of almonds, garlic, olive oil and grapes.
Sold? I was…just the idea of it sounded so delicious that I couldn’t wait to make it. The recipe calls for the soup to be chilled overnight but since I decided in the morning to make it for lunch, I just put it in the fridge for a couple of hours and yet it turned out fabulous…with a texture resembling smooth, cool white satin ribbon on the tongue. If you have the time, chill it overnight, the flavours intensify and you get a creamier, richer, more velvety soup. The recipe does call for peeled grapes, I cheated there and kept the skin on, which according to me worked fine but by all means if you want to be tres elegante go ahead and disrobe them.
Almond and Grape soup
- 4 slices of day-old bread crusts removed broken into large pieces
- 100 g whole blanched almonds
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 4 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 ltr cold water
- 100 g peeled seedless white grapes roughly chopped
- Soak bread in a bowl of cold water for 4-5 minutes.
- Put almonds and garlic in a food processor and blend till finely ground. Squeeze out the excess water and add the bread followed by the olive oil and the vinegar and blend till smooth.
- Keep the processor running and pour in the cold water in a thin stream till fully incorporated.
- Strain the soup through a fine sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Season with salt, cover and chill overnight or for 3-4 hours at least.
- Ladle soup into individual bowls adding equal quantities of grapes to each bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.