Garlic + grapes = GREAT gazpacho

Remember when you used to clip recipes? I mean, the days when you’d take a pair of scissors and actually cut recipes out of newspapers or magazines? (Or, since I was usually too lazy to get up and find scissors, just rip-rip-rip around the edges, being sure none of the fractions in the ingredients got left behind.)

Those days are just about gone, replaced by downloading (or is it uploading?) recipes from food sites, accessing friends’ online recipe boxes, printing emailed recipes, and any other computer-aided, electronic recipe sharing you can think of. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube—even Skype has gotten onto the bandwagon. A group of home bakers called The Bakenistas, scattered all over the country, bakes “together” on weekends via Skype.

Still, it’s amazing how often I turn to my raggedy old recipe “book” for inspiration. Beginning in 1976, I cut and pasted recipes (REALLY cut and pasted, not virtually) into a blank-paged book whose spine has long since given up the ghost. Each time I open this book the much-thumbed pages rain like falling leaves onto my desk.

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But that’s OK; I know their order by heart. And I can turn pretty quickly to the recipes I still use often: the cream of tomato soup, the mushroom toasts, and that over-the-top cinnamon-chocolate chip coffeecake (to be blogged someday—be patient!)

The following White Gazpacho is a great example. Although the recipe is now online at kingarthurflour.com, for years I followed the one in my book, a clipping whose provenance I’ve long since forgotten. And even now, when I tire of staring at the computer screen, I grab my recipe book, sit down in a favorite rocker (yes, it’s right here in the office, next to my desk), and visit with old friends; recipes that’ll never grow old, despite the tattered pages they rest on.

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First, we’re going to make croutons. You can skip this step and buy boxed croutons. But once you see how easy it is to make your own—and taste how superior they are to packaged—you’ll never go back to store-bought. Start with a 1-pound loaf of plain white bread, the plainer the better: flour, water, salt, and yeast makes the best crouton bread. Cut the bread in 3/4” slices, and the slices into strips.

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Cut the strips into cubes. A pair of scissors works very well here.

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Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil, and toss or stir to coat.

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Bake till dried out and golden. The time depends on the temperature of your oven; save energy by ganging these with something else you’re baking. Set the croutons aside to cool. Beware: nibbling will quickly become addictive.

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Next, you need another 12 ounces of plain white bread—about 3/4 of a 1-pound loaf. When I’m making this soup, I make two loaves of plain white bread in our kitchen bread machines: 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, and 7/8 to 1 1/8 cups water, depending on the time of year (more water in the winter, less in the summer). Put it all in the bread machine, press start, and about 3 1/2 hours later you’ll have two loaves of plain white bread. No joke! It’s not the most gorgeous loaf in the world (I prefer to use the machine to knead, and bake in the oven), but it works just fine in this application. Cut the bread into slices, put it in a bowl, and soak it in cold water to barely cover.

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While the bread is soaking, toast some slivered almonds…

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…and grind them in a food processor, along with the peeled garlic cloves and salt, till everything is mealy, but not pasty.

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Squeeze the bread till you’ve wrung as much water out of it as possible. It’ll be squishy; put it in the food processor atop the ground almond mixture.

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Process till thoroughly combined. The mixture will be pasty.

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Add olive oil and vinegar, and process again. The mixture will start to become creamy.

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Nex, add the chicken or vegetable stock and cold water, enough to make a rich, creamy soup.

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Trust me; no one will EVER believe this soup is dairy-free! It looks and tastes like it’s filled with cream. If you use vegetable stock, it’s perfect for vegans and vegetarians.

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Serve with those lovely crunchy croutons you made, and halved green grapes. Grapes and garlic? Sounds, uh, “unusual,” I know. But trust me—it’s superb.

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for White Gazpacho.

Buy vs. Bake
Since I couldn’t find a source to purchase this particular soup, at the store or in a restaurant, the comparison this time is simply croutons.

Buy: Packaged croutons, assorted brands, 17¢ to 40¢/ounce

Bake at home: Croutons, 10¢/ounce

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. maryjobo

    PJ, This sounds great, but backup…I want to know about the mushroom toasts–that sounds really yummy!

    Well, you take really thin slices of bread – think Pepperidge Farm Very Thin – and butter one side. On the unbuttered side, spread with the following: 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms + 2 T finely chopped onions, sautéed in butter until brown, then combined with softened 3 oz. softened cream cheese, 2 tsp. mayo, 1/2 tsp. paprkia. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes at 450°F. SOOOOOO good… PJH

    Reply
  2. The Sconess

    This sounds fantastic! It’s been so hot the last week (at night it just barely dips into the upper 70’s) and I’m looking forward to something that isn’t another salad. Do you think that white bread baked on the ‘rapid bake’ cycle which takes about 2 hours will work for the croûtons? If not then I’ll just make whole wheat and give it a go.

    The “rapid” or “quick” cycle is used only when you are using RapidRise yeast. Baking with standard yeast on this cycle will give a heavy loaf. But a firm crouton is not neccesarily a bad thing. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  3. Sea Lily

    I lived in the country outside of Madrid for over five years and spent a lot of time with my neighbors from Andalucia. While we ate a lot of traditional (red) gazpacho in Madrid and the northern areas, my neighbors introduced me to White Gazpacho. It’s the only kind they would eat. I think it’s “cooler” than the red, and it’s really, really hot in Andalucia in summer, so it makes sense. It’s awesome, and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    Enjoy – I’m betting you’ll really like this, so long as you love garlic 🙂 PJH

    Reply
  4. wendyb964

    I am looking for a white (light green) gazpacho served when teaching in Valdelavilla, Spain. It was very mild, I thought cucumber-based, may have had some grapes, def. bread or ground nuts to thicken, but if any garlic, very little. Don’t think this is it. Valdelavilla is NE of Madrid, Malaga on the southern coast. I’ve made this with less garlic and it is very good. Still on my quest….. (my mum was British and we love cold soups: tomato bisque garnished with unsweetened cream/sour cream and chopped peanuts has been a fav for years.)

    Readers, does this ring a bell with anyone? PJH

    Reply
  5. JasonZ

    I had seen a very similar recipe in one of Penelope Casis’ regional cookbooks on Spain and posted it to another recipe/cooking site (recipezaar.com) as part of a cooking competition. Several of us made the recipe and it is as delicious as you and several other reviewers say it is. Yes, you need to be careful — the garlic packs a wallop and will surprise the unsuspecting .. and the grapes are a wonderful garnish as well as a great flavor additive.

    A wonderful suggestion is to serve this “buffet style” in small glasses (think a 4-6 oz water glass or small tea mug), with both red gazpacho and white gazpacho on the buffet … gets to be a great “compare and contrast” taste treat!

    Ah, Jason – excellent idea, I love it! I’ll definitely be doing that this summer. And yes, this is quite a common type of gazpacho – I’ve seen similar recipes in other places. Cheers – thanks for connecting. PJH

    Reply
  6. Patricia Shea

    What a wonderful sounding recipe…I love white soups like vichyssoise and Maine chowd-ah (which is thin and delicate), and I really like the sound of thickening the soup with bread, anything with garlic has to be good in my book and the grapes seem like a perfect counterpoint…needless to say I will be trying this soon! Thanks for sharing!

    Hi Patricia – Hope you saw the bacon and cheddar scone blog, too – since it’s about Atlantic Baking Company in Rockland. I kind of have to disagree about Maine fish chowder – I lived in Camden for 15 years, and the weekly fish chowder supper at the American Legion featured a chowder that was thin, for sure (no thickening in the broth), but I wouldn’t term it delicate, since it was packed with potatoes, onions, and fish. Plain, and good. Ditto the strawberry shortcake which usually followed the chowder – also plain, and SO good. How’s Belfast these days? More arts than chicken, huh? PJH

    Reply
  7. ML

    I tried this recipe and was pleased with it. I love garlic but I think it was even too garlicky for me. I thought that maybe I would roast some garlic to see if it has enuf garlic without the bite. It could be my garlic was not as fresh as it should be. I don’t hv AP bread in my house so I used whole wheat and I made 1/2 a recipe since it is just my husband and me. The gazpacho was fine. I was surprised how much the grapes added to the soup. In south Texas this cool soup was a winner and will be made again.

    Reply

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