Ajoblanco ¨Chupitos¨, A typical Andalucian tapa

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If you were to go to a tapas bar in Andalucia, away from where the tourists usually go, this would undoubtedly be on the menu.  It is a cold ¨soup¨  and is usually served in a bowl but I like this version better! A ¨chupito¨is a shot, such as in a shot glass. ¨Chupar¨ is the verb meaning to slurp or suck. So, the term ¨chupito¨is perfect because it means you really knock it back!  So, why does this not usually get mentioned in the tourist restaurants? I think it is because the name has a tendency to turn people off. Ajoblanco means white garlic.  I hope this does not turn you off of it. It is a mixture of garlic, almonds, olive oil, bread and wáter. It is just wonderful and it has a lovely rich flavour of almonds. My husband buys ajoblanco in the supermarket

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and was I surprised when I made for the first time for him yesterday and he told me he adored it!  Yep..we both knocked it back!

In case you are interested, here is the recipe to serve 4

75 g whole, blanched almonds

50 g finely chopped almonds

100g stale bread or bread crumbs

1 small garlic clove,peeled

100 g bread, cubed like croutons

4 tablespoons sherry vinegar (sounds like a lot but it wakes up all the flavours)

6 tablespoons of good quality olive oil

salt

chives

Water, as needed

1. Soak the bread cubes in water. Just enough so that they become a bit ¨soupy¨ Stir it to make sure it is well soaked.

2. Put the blanched almonds, garlic and a good dash of salt in a food processor. Grind well and then add the bread ¨soup¨. Blend.

3. Add the olive oil and blend again.

4. Add the vinegar and a small cup of water and blend again until smooth.

5. Pour into a large bowl and add cold water as needed to make it less thick. Add salt and check if you need to add any more olive oil or vinegar. I know the last instruction seems exaggerated but it is surprising how olive oil or vinegar can change something for the better. Put it in the fridge to chill. Like all cold soups, it gets better with time so leave in the fridge for at least an hour or two!

6. Toast the slices of bread and cut them into small squares. In a frying pan, with no oil, toast the almonds on low heat.

Serve your ajoblanco in elegant glasses with the toasted almond and toast sprinkled on top. For extra flair, put a chive in too!

*I have also seen this served with green grapes on top. I prefer the toasted almonds.

Enjoy with fresh melon and extra toasted almonds for sprinkling!

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