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White Almond-Garlic Soup and Variations
Use as a first course or a main dish.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups (about 8 ounces) blanched, ground almonds
4 slices white bread, crusts removed, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled (Use 6 if serving cold, 8 if serving hot)
5 cups milk
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste.

Directions:
Serves 6
1. In a large bowl, combine the almonds, bread, garlic, milk, stock, and vinegar. Transfer about a third of the mixture to the container of a blender and process until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly pour in 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and repeat with the remaining thirds of the mixture, adding a third cup of oil to each batch.
2. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.  To serve warm, place in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, over medium low heat.  Garnish (see below) and serve.  To chill, place in the refrigerator (cover it well---this soup has a very garlicky aroma!) Chill the soup for several hours.  Before serving, taste the soup;  if it tastes too strongly of either garlic or vinegar, add a small amount of water or more stock.  Garnish and serve in chilled bowls.
White Almond Garlic Soup with Shrimp
Prepare soup as above.  Peel, devein, and cook small or medium-sized shrimp in salted boiling water until just pink and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Immediately drain shrimp, slice them horizontally, and place in the bottom of 6 soup bowls.  Heat soup and pour over shrimp.  Garnish each with a small amount of finely chopped chervil or tarragon and serve.
Cold White Almond Garlic Soup with Grapes
Prepare soup as above and chill.  Slice 30 white seedless grapes in half and place in the bottom of 6 soup bowls.  Pour cold soup over grapes and serve.
White Almond Garlic with Chicken
Prepare soup as above.  In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Season 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the skillet and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.  Heat the soup.  Place the chicken in the bottom of 6 serving bowls, pour hot soup in, and serve.
White Almond-Garlic Soup with Avocado
Prepare soup as above, and chill or heat.  Cut 3 corn tortillas into thin strips about a quarter inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long.  Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a small skillet set over medium-high heat until very hot. (Drop one tortilla strip into the oil; if it begins immediately to sizzle and browns within 20 seconds, the oil is ready).  Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips in the hot oil and remove them with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.  When all the strips are cooked, sprinkle them lightly with salt.
When ready to serve, halve, pit, peel and dice the avocado.  Divide the avocado between 6 serving bowls.  Garnish with the tortilla strips and finely chopped cilantro and serve.

Use as a first course or a main dish.