Due to the hot climate, Spain has many recipes for chilled soups. Ajoblanco (or Ajo blanco) one is from the southern Andalucia and a great way to use up stale bread, and quite filling. It is more traditional to garnish it with grapes or melon, but I used some pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) instead. The smokiness works very well with the soup, and the red color is a nice contrast. To give the soup more flavor, I lightly toasted the almonds, and used a relatively large amount of almonds. For a cheaper (and probably more traditional) version, use more bread and less almonds.
For 6 servings
250 grams (2 cups) blanched almonds
250 grams (9 oz) stale bread
750 ml (3 cups) cold water
1 clove garlic
extra virgin olive oil
smoked paprika, for garnish, optional
white grapes, for garnish, optional
diced melon, for garnish, optional
For more flavor, toast the almonds in the oven at 180C/350F…
…until they are lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Allow the almonds to cool after toasting.
Meanwhile, remove the crust from the bread…
…and chop the bread.
Put the almonds in a powerful blender (I used a Vitamix) and cover them with cold water.
Blend until smooth.
Now add sherry vinegar to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon)…
…and extra virgin olive oil to taste (again about 1 tablespoon), as well as salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to start).
Add the bread as well, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, vinegar, and olive oil, if needed.
Chill the ajoblanco in the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least a couple of hours.
Serve in small portions (it is very filling), garnished with grapes, melon, or pimentón.
Chicken skewers with peanut sauce are a Dutch/Indonesian dish that is very popular in the Netherlands under the name of chicken satay. For my version I make the sauce from scratch, which has great flavor.