Ajo Stone Blanco
Soup is best hot...unless it's cold. So for your hot summer night have some gazpacho, but this time try it a bit differently. During A Midsummer Night's Dream we made a red gazpacho that had Ken Miller writing home to Mom (quite literally - he wanted to send her the recipe). Sadly...I have no idea how I created that gazpacho (I know there was spinach in it), but rather than spending all summer trying to re-create that recipe I've found a white gazpacho.
White Gazpacho is from the Andalucia region of Spain and dates back to when the Moors controlled the region. It is beautiful there, and when I visited the region a few years back I found that the oppressive heat (moments from the coast and breezes) had that same sticky, muggy feel that reminds me of Southern Illinois in August. Ajo Blanco is a perfect way to forget the oppression and pairs so nicely with Shakespeare or Federico Garcia Lorca (see, we like other playwrights).
Combine apple, garlic, bread, grapes, blanched almonds, milk, and 2 cups water in a medium bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
Transfer soup base to a blender and purée, adding water by tablespoonfuls if too thick, until smooth. With motor running, gradually add 3/4 cup oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar and blend until soup is emulsified. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; cover and chill until very cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread sliced almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
Divide soup among bowls; top with toasted almonds; drizzle with oil and vinegar.
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