Ajoblanco: Almond – Red Wine Vinegar – Sardine – Fig

Almonds are one of those forgotten ingredients that we basically use as a snack or as a condiment for adding some extra flavor. But what if raw almonds became the star of a dish, keeping all the attention to themselves? Today we are serving Ajoblanco, a refined and appreciated cold soup typical from the South of Spain, with fresh figs and marinated sardines.

When the specific sweet and bitter taste of a raw almond is mixed with the acidity of the vinegar, that signature taste is created. The addition of salt and marinated sardines offer a deep roasted aroma balanced by the green touches of the fresh fig. By adding the right amount of pureed garlic to the soup, its onion like aroma emphasizes all the flavors and acts as an ‘anchor’ for the sweetness, bitterness, sourness and saltiness of this simple yet complex recipe.

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Ingredients and preparation (serves 4):

Ajoblanco

  • 1 garlic clove * 30 g dried bread * 20 g extra virgin olive oil * 20 g red wine vinegar * 1 l water *salt

Blanch the almonds in hot water and peel. Once they are completely clean, proceed to mix them with the water, the bread and the garlic clove using a hand mixer. Then, emulsify with the extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and vinegar to taste. If the mixture is still too heavy, add some more cold water. Let all the ingredients set and infuse for at least 12 hours in the fridge.

Sardine

  • 4 fresh sardines
  • red wine vinegar
  • 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Rose pepper
  • Grated ginger
  • salt

Scale and clean the sardines under cold water. Remove the bone. Place the fillets on a tray covered by a thick layer of salt, vinegar, chopped bay leaves, rose pepper mignonette and a little bit of grated ginger. Leave the sardines in the marinade for at least 4 hours. Then rinse using cold water and cover with the olive oil.

Garnish

  • 4 ripe figs
  • 20 g herring roe
  • Modena Vinegar

Clean the figs and place them on the plate, next to the cured sardine fillets, toped with a herring roe quenelle. Pour the ajoblanco and finish with two or three drops of modena vinegar.

Voila!

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