Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Those darn Europeans

Strange cravings strike more than the gravid among us. Lately, all I've wanted is garlic, lots of it, and fast. My first thought was to make ajo blanco, which I figured was a more summer-appropriate variant of the 44-clove garlic soup I've written lovingly about before. But then I actually checked out some recipes for ajo blanco, and holy bejeesus is it shockingly caloric. When I think ajo blanco, I think about long, lean, perfectly tanned Spanish women sipping it on a Mediterranean beach while drinking albarino and eating grapes and melon slices. Now I see that the reason they remain long and lean is that ajo blanco is often served in small, small portions as an accompaniment to a roasted potato or fish dish. So while I try to figure out a way to a. make recipes like this one somewhat easier on the waistline or b. create the perfect accompaniment to a tiny little shooter of ajo blanco, I will accept substitutes... like this one!

This is a green grape, roasted garlic, and zucchini gazpacho with chopped raw almonds and scallions on top. I'm getting my garlic fix (and my raw almond fix, because boy, are those puppies delicious) and retaining the ability to drink more than a few tablespoons of soup without pondering pasty, plump Americans hunkered down like grubs on that aforementioned beach in Spain. Plus, it pairs nicely with the rest of those gram flour crackers from yesterday, although I think a slice of sourdough or some rosemary and olive oil crackers would be preferable.

Green and garlicky gazpacho
(N.b.: "Green garlic" is an actual thing, so calling this "green garlic gazpacho" would have been misleading.)
1 1/2 cups green grapes
1 cucumber, peeled
1/2 cup jicama (or substitute a couple stalks of celery with those annoying stringy bits removed)
1 zucchini
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped red onion (more to taste)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs, fresh or packaged
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 large cloves roasted garlic (my cloves were very large, so you might use more if yours aren't so substantial)
sherry vinegar to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup liquid (I used water; I suppose you could use vegetable broth, but the saltiness concerns me)
salt and pepper to taste (make sure to season after the soup is cold!)
chopped scallions and chopped raw almonds for garnish (lots of almonds!)

Soak the breadcrumbs in the liquid while you prepare the vegetables. Food process everything but the garnish items into oblivion. Chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with garnish items. Eat.

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