If you thumb through any magazine or surf most of the food/entertaining websites, you’ll find one idea after another for backyard barbeques and refreshing summer salads. But I have my own suggestion about something cool to cook this season: White gazpacho.
No doubt you’ve met white gazpacho’s scarlet cousin, red gazpacho. A cold, tomato-centered soup often brimming with summer vegetables. White gazpacho (ajo blanco) is equally refreshing but otherwise completely opposite. With a base of marcona almonds, white gazpacho is milkier, silkier and richer than red gazpacho. It’s also my favorite of the two.
For instructions on how to whip this soup together, I checked in with my friend Erika Kerekes of InErikasKitchen. This is her original recipe:
Green grapes and almonds in a cold, savory soup? Actually, yes. Don’t worry about getting the measurements below exactly right; they’re meant to suggest proportions. A little more or less won’t make a difference.
- 1 cup baguette or similar white bread, stale or lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup water
- Splash of rosé wine [ed: Preferably 2008 A Donkey and Goat Grenache Rosé. Really. Try it]
- 1/2 cup roasted Marcona almonds
- 1/2 cup green grapes
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or more)
- ground white pepper
Put the bread and water in the container of a blender and let soak 5 minutes. Add
all other ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more olive oil to get the right consistency; the gazpacho should be thin but not runny, about the consistency of buttermilk. Season with salt and ground white pepper to taste. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Vina Tobia Blanco – white from “red”
And what to pair? Something Spanish, of course! Or, to sound more professional about it: If it grows together, it goes together.
Lately I’ve been enjoying a lovely 2009 white Rioja from Vina Tobia. If you remember from my last Rioja piece, the designation Rioja comes from the color of the region’s soil. White Rioja simply means a white wine from this red-tinted region.
Vina Tobia Rioja Blanco is comprised of 80% viura (macabeo) and 20% malvasia grapes. In the glass it presents a lovely nose of white flowers and peach and honeysuckle. In the mouth, this wine is crisp and nicely balanced and bursting with melon, mango and ripe peaches, with subtle notes of mineral, citrus and the faintest touch of raspberry.