Main Meals

Ajo blanco

4
Easy
30 minutes, plus 3 hours’ chilling time

"Ajo blanco, gazpacho’s nutty cousin, is a Spanish chilled, almond-based soup, enriched with bread and olive oil. The flavour is creamy and mild, but what really gives it attitude is the preparation of pickled grapes that accompanies it. I’ve peeled mine and kept them on the stem for the look, but you can remove them.”- Khanya Mzongwana

Wine/Spirit Pairing
Diemersdal Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc

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Ingredients

Method
  • For the pickled grapes:
  • 1 1⁄2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1 t fennel seeds, slightly cracked
  • 1 t black peppercorns, cracked
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 150 g green seedless grapes, halved
  • For the Ajo blanco:
  • ice-cold water
  • 170 g blanched almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 200 g fresh, crustless rustic bread, cut into large cubes
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 T sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 8 prosciutto slices

1. To make the pickled grapes, place all the ingredients except the grapes in a bowl and whisk together. Add the grapes, cover and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer you pickle them, the tastier they will be.

2. Place the water, almonds and garlic into a blender and blend at a high speed until milky. Add the bread and blend until smooth. Season with salt, then blend in the vinegar and olive oil.

3. Strain the soup through a sieve into a sealable container, then chill for 2 hours.

4. To serve, divide the soup between bowls, top with a spoonful of the pickled grapes and rosettes of prosciutto. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Cook's note: Replace the grapes with fresh peeled melon slices for a refreshing and quicker solution.

Find more soup recipes here.

Photography: Myburgh Du Plessis
Production: Khanya Mzongwana
Food assistant: Ellah Maepa

Khanya Mzongwana

Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana

If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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