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Posted on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 1 p.m.

White Grape Gazpacho is cool refreshment from Spain

By Kim Bayer


Michigan grapes in the fall

Photo | Kim Bayer

Recently the temperature has been, shall we say, "hellish." Literally. Since when does it get up to 108 degrees in Michigan?

When it's hot, hot, hot outside, that means it's gazpacho time at our house. I used to think there was only one kind of gazpacho - basically the tomato-based salad-in-a-blender kind. Then some friends who had recently been to Spain had a dinner party and made a white gazpacho with grapes that was amazing. It turns out, there are red, green and white gazpachos, but "the base is always bread, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt." There's an entire world of gazpacho out there to explore without heating up the kitchen. Now I look forward to White Grape Gazpacho every year as one of the most refreshing summer treats I know.

From an article called King Gazpacho from "Andalucia costa del sol" magazine: "For all the fame of red gazpacho, we should not forget that local variations abound. Remembering that the base is always bread, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt, let us try to classify them by colour; red, white and green….

White gazpacho is typical of the south and east of Andalusia. This is Malaga's famous ajo blanco (white garlic) which, according to some people, dates back to Moorish times and which according to others is a peasant dish adapted for city tastes in the nineteenth century. It consists of pounding peeled almonds with cooking salt before crushing the basic elements into the mixture and then adding water to get the smoothness of a soup. Outside Malaga, which gazpacho can be made with pine seeds. At the beginning of summer, the strong flavour of garlic is sweetened with cubes or little balls of melon or apple and in September, with grapes."

White Grape Gazpacho

1 1/2 cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 slices stale country (white) bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
4 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 cups white grape juice (or just water)
2 cups iced water
3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
24 seedless white or Muscat grapes, halved

Combine the almonds and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until the almonds are very finely ground, almost paste-like. Reserve in blender.

Meanwhile, soak the bread in cold water 15 to 20 minutes. Then squeeze out excess water. add to the almonds in the blender and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream and then the vinegar, scraping down the sides often.

Pour in the grape juice and iced water, one cup at a time, blending between additions, and season to taste with salt. Process briefly to combine. Chill at least 6 hours before serving. Serve in chilled soup bowls and garnish with the grapes.