Ajo blanco, dill powder, focaccia croutons

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    Starter Portions
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Rust en Vrede

Make sure the soup is served well chilled and be careful of the olive oil used. You’ll want to use a mild oil, as some can be quite bitter.

Ingredients

Ajo blanco

  • 200 ml milk
  • 400 ml water
  • 200 g almonds
  • 200 g Evan’s focaccia bread
  • 400 ml water
  • 5 g garlic – grated on a microplane
  • 60 g sherry vinegar
  • 420 ml water
  • 80 ml milk
  • salt and pepper

Croutons

  • 75 g butter
  • 48 g focaccia bread – no crust

Almonds

  • 12 almonds
  • 150 ml milk
  • 16 peeled grapes – 2 per serving
  • 16 large green olive cheeks (4 per olive) – reserved in brine
  • 48 drops green oil – 6 per serving
  • 72 drops olive oil – 9 per serving
  • 24 leaves buckleaf – 3 per serving – to garnish
  • 24 garlic flower petals – 3 per serving
  • dill powder – to sprinkle

Method

In a pot, combine 200 ml milk and 400 ml water and bring to a simmer. Add the almonds and blanch until the skin can be peeled easily. Remove the almonds from the blanching liquid, peel and discard the skins. Remove the crusts from the focaccia, and soak the bread in 400 ml water, then remove from the bowl without squeezing out excess liquid.

Place the almonds, soaked bread, garlic, sherry vinegar, 420 ml water and 80 ml milk in a Thermomix jug. Blend on high until smooth and a pouring consistency. If the soup is too thick, add water until the correct pouring consistency is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve, and make sure to serve well chilled.

Tear the bread into 24 small pieces. Melt the butter until bubbling and add the bread pieces. Fry until golden brown and crunchy. Drain excess fat on paper towels.

Blanch the almonds in simmering milk until the skin is easily peeled. Remove the skin, split each almond in half, and reserve.

To assemble, place 3 croutons, 3 almond halves, 2 grapes and 2 olives on each chilled soup plate. Carefully pour in 100 ml cold soup and finish with 6 drops green oil, 9 drops olive oil, 3 leaves buckleaf, 3 garlic flower petals and a sprinkling of dill powder.