We are still thinking about a cold soup starter that we had at The Dock Kitchen last bank holiday weekend; so much so, that we just had to share the recipe with you…..
Ajo Blanco is typically a cold almond and fruit, sweet and savory cold soup. We had this in Spain a few years ago, in fact we served it as an ‘Amuse Bouche’ at a wedding as I recall, via Delicious Barcelona. Having almost forgotten about this unusual dish, I sat down to a bowl of light, liquid, uniquely textured cold soup at The Dock Kitchen and quickly rediscovered the feeling of delight and excitement all over again for this exotic alternative.
We were a large group at the restaurant booked in for a birthday lunch. We had an exquisite sounding set menu (good price too at £32 pp) but this cold soup really stole the show last bank holiday. It seemed a spot on choice as the sun was trying to peak out. It made us think we were somewhere afar….. where the sun shines more often!
This is a fresh, light and unusual soup. It makes for an interesting starter, it is reasonably easy to make and serve when entertaining.
Stevie Parle’s Recipe
1-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt
150g/5oz Spanish almonds
3 or 4 small slices of stale baguette or soft white bread
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
5 tbsp good olive oil
8-12 thin slices of pancetta
Half a charentais melon or 2 loquats or a handful of dark red cherries or grapes
Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with the salt. Add it and the almonds to the food processor and blend until really fine, add a drizzle of water and continue to blend for a few minutes until the mixture is a smooth thick paste, then add the bread and blend more. Slowly add the vinegar and oil, still blending, followed by the water, until the mixture is a little thicker than double cream.
Taste and add more vinegar or salt if it needs it. Chill for a few hours. Fry the pancetta gently in a little olive oil until completely crisp. To serve, cut the fruit into very small slices or dice and sprinkle over the soup. Top with the pancetta and a little olive oil. Eat while still cold.
We had ours without the Pancetta last week (there were thin pieces of either pink grapefruit or blood orange instead, which made for a very summery sensation) but we are certainly looking forward to creating the recipe at home with the addition of Pancetta for any meat eaters that might pop in for some soupy supper.
The whole table found this a much more exciting cold soup in comparison to a Gazpacho, which a lot of people might have experienced several times before – although you can always make something your own.
We suggest a slightly smaller size than we received at The Dock Kitchen, it was a little large if you need to save some space for another few courses!
Stevie Parle’s original Ajo Blanco recipe can be found in his book ‘Real Food from Near and Far’. Publishers, Quadrille.
This recipe was taken from The Telegraph by Stevie Parle
Dock Kitchen is Stevie Parle’s West London restaurant. Designed by Tom Dixon.
They say: Stevie runs an experimental kitchen always adapting the menu and trying new things depending on what is in season, what far flung place he or another of the chefs have visited, or what new ingredient they have come across abroad or at home. Dishes are collected, adapted, and recreated Dock Kitchen style. In the evenings we run a fixed, shared meal alongside our regular a la carte offering. The focus for this meal might be a specific place, a particular ingredient or just an idea that inspires us to cook exciting things. We don’t spend months practicing dishes before putting them on our menu. Instead we like to be spontaneous and react to what our carefully chosen suppliers are able to give us.’ Taken from the Dock Kitchen website.
We say: We definitely recommend The Dock Kitchen on a sunny day or warm evening. Make use of that terrace while you can!
Entertaining: Suitable on many levels from client entertaining to family gatherings. We’d find all sorts of reasons to host a table here.