I actually made this back in January when entertaining a friend who was staying with us for the night, and she was so excited when I told her about my resolution for the year that she asks me how I’m doing on it and that’s one of the reasons that finally compelled me to write all of this down and track in properly. I have many books to go still, but I’m as determined as ever to get through this.
Next up: white gazpacho from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook.
While 2016 will be remembered for many more bad things than good, the fall did mark the release of two cookbooks I had been anticipating eagerly all year: Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook and Alton Brown’s EveryDayCook. They came out within a few weeks of each other, and interestingly enough are both meant to be tomes dedicated to the food they actually make for themselves on a day-to-day basis. Ever since Bourdain wrote a long and very sweet post about how he took some needed time off after filming one season of No Reservations and spent a few weeks in the Hamptons making incredible food I’ve been intrigued as to what he would take the time to make for himself, and in following Alton Brown on social media I’ve been equally interested in the recipes he’s tweaked over the years as well as the ones he never was able to share on TV for various reasons. AB’s book will get its own post soon, so for today’s intents and purposes we’ll stick to Bourdain.
(Random aside: both feature homemade tomato soup and both feature recipes for whole chickens, both of which will be tested against each other because why not?)
I’ve written about Jose Andres’ white gazpacho a few years ago and how lovely it was, but also noted that it was nothing if not very time-consuming to make, what with having to strain out the nut meat to get a silky smooth liquid, and admittedly not a ton of it at that. Bourdain’s is much simpler to execute–an excellent trait if you’re making a bunch of tapas and entertaining–and while the soup isn’t quite as refined as Jose’s, it still looks impressive enough to serve at any dinner party. He also helpfully points out that the ingredients for this soup, unlike the tomato version, are seasonally agnostic, so it’s good to have at any time of year. Even better is that grapes tend to be on sale in my neck of the woods this time of year, which means now is the perfect time to try this.
Adapted slightly from Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain
- 5 or 6 (1-inch-thick) slices day-old country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1¼ cups slivered blanched almonds, finely ground
- 2 very fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1¾ cups chilled water (ice-cold filtered water is great here)
- Kosher salt
- ⅔ cup Spanish olive oil, plus more for garnish (optional, but awesome)
- 2 tablespoons best-quality sherry vinegar (also optional, but awesome)
- 1 or 2 (1-inch-thick) slices day-old country bread, crusts removed, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- ½ cup green table grapes, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
Place the 1-inch cubes of bread in a medium mixing bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the bread from the bowl, squeezing out the excess water. Transfer the bread over to the blender.
Add the ground almonds, garlic, and chilled water to the food processor and season with the 2 teaspoons salt. Puree to form a creamy, basically paste-like mixture, pausing to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. With the machine running, drizzle in ⅓ cup of the oil and blend until the mixture is emulsified.
Transfer the mixture to a clean mixing bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt as needed. Cover and chill for an hour at minimum.
Before serving, make the croutons: iIn a frying pan, heat the remaining ⅓ cup oil over medium heat. Once the oil is ready (a bit of bread should sizzle immediately when added), cook the cubes in it for about 1 minute, until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan and stirring once or twice with a wooden spoon. Remove the toasted cubes from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to the lined sheet pan to drain. Season lightly with salt.
Garnish each serving of soup with the croutons, sliced grapes, and an extra drizzle of oil.