The almond, now grown along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, is another delicacy that was cultivated first in Anatolia (and one of only two nuts to be mentioned in the holiest Christian, Jewish, and Muslim texts—the other being the pistachio).
I first had the cold version of this sixteenth-century Ottoman dish in Şemsa Denizsel’s famous Kantin restaurant in the posh Istanbul suburb of Nişantaşi. She was inspired by Spanish cuisine in deciding to include grapes. I like the addition of unripened green almonds (picked in late spring before the outer skin becomes tough and inedible) because they give a sour balance to this mellow soup.
Put the almond milk in a saucepan with
Dry-fry the garlic (unpeeled) in a frying pan over medium heat for 4 minutes, shaking the pan constantly to evenly brown. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Peel away the skin and any burnt spots.
Place the blanched almonds, soaked bread, toasted garlic and salt in a food processor, and blend to make a fine paste. Slowly mix in the oil, then the almond-milk water, and then
Next, make the garlic chips. Finely slice the garlic lengthways into about eighteen thin pieces. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with sugar.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add a drop of water to the oil. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Add the garlic to the pan and fry for 3 minutes until it’s golden brown. Scoop the chips out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
Quarter the green almonds. Cut the grapes in half. Divide the badem çorbasi soup into four bowls. Decorate with the halved grapes, almond pieces and garlic chips. Serve chilled.
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