Gazpacho, a chilled soup synonymous with summer, has nebulous origins. Some say it’s descended from an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, and garlic, while others insist it came courtesy of the Romans, who added vinegar.
Whatever its heritage, the dish has become a standard in Andalusian cuisine and one of the most popular at the three locations of Jaleo, José Andrés’s Spanish-tapas houses. Simple and straightforward, this soup is easy to make at home and will help cool a sticky 100-degree night.
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3 cups mineral or filtered water
7 ounces blanched almonds
1 clove garlic
3 ounces white bread, torn into small pieces
½ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
16 seedless grapes, peeled
Combine 1 cup of water, the almonds, and the garlic in a medium pot and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, drain.
Pour a fresh cup of water into the pot with the drained almonds and garlic; bring to a boil. Drain again. By now the garlic will have lost much of its pungency, and the almonds will be softened.
Place the garlic and almonds in a blender. Add the remaining 1 cup of water, plus the bread, ½ cup olive oil, sherry vinegar, and salt. Blend the mixture until smooth.
Place a colander lined with a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the soup into the colander. Once most of the liquid has passed through the colander, press the mixture gently with a spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Discard any unstrained solids, and pour the soup into a pitcher. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, place 4 grapes in four shallow soup bowls. Drizzle a little circle of olive oil around the edge of each bowl. Pour the soup into the bowls and serve.
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