Tartine's version below:
Sometimes—No—a lot of times in life, I fail to see the forest for the trees. This is especially true when it comes to following recipes. And actually, I think this is one of the reasons I was so drawn to cooking in the first place, because, with all of the specific steps—the precise measurements and directions inherent to most recipes—it’s practically encouraged to lose yourself amidst the perfect execution of details and forget the endgame entirely.
Well, this—let’s call it my natural predilection—really caused this white gazpacho to go from what could’ve been a simple summer soup into a messy, complicated afternoon in the kitchen. This particularly stung as I was having friends over for dinner and thought I had planned the perfect no-stress summer menu: white gazpacho, Pizzeria Mozza pizza delivered to the apartment, and paletas de yogurt con moras (yogurt and berry Mexican ice pops) that I had made the previous day.
Little did I know that I went off the no-stress path with the very first step to the gazpacho, which was to add almonds and garlic to a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Had I been thinking of the larger picture, the fact that I was going to be puréeing these almonds down to a soup with the consistency of heavy cream, I would have erred on the side of boiling longer than 2 minutes to ensure that the almonds had softened up enough for quality puréeing. Unfortunately, and without the guide of a kitchen timer, I placed the emphasis on making sure I didn’t go over 2 minutes.
Once I moved on to the puréeing step, the repercussions of this too-quick bath in boiling water made itself extremely known. In short, my purée equaled a grainy mixture the consistency of hummus that would barely and only after much effort and coaxing find its way through my strainer. What ensued was a solid hour of re-blending with more water and oil and then re-straining. Many times during this hour, I contemplated giving up the straining part altogether, but if you’ve ever had an almond smoothie that has left little almond bits on your tongue and you didn’t enjoy that aspect of the smoothie, you would agree that the mixture needed to be strained. In short, what I’m trying to tell you is: let those almonds boil for at least 2 minutes. They want to boil for longer than two minutes. So just let them.
After I recovered from this step (I recommend a hike or yoga session.), the rest, the red gazpacho garnish, was a breeze; and the combination of the soup and garnish, which you must serve ice cold, was brilliant—super refreshing, delicious, and beautiful.
The paletas, too, make quite a first impression. And as for their process, it couldn’t have been more opposite from the white gazpacho. The recipe called for “blackberries, or the berry of your choice.” So, in keeping with the white-and-red food theme of the night, we chose strawberries. Lies! We just had strawberries on hand.
I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you, dear readers, currently reside, but in Los Angeles, it’s still heating up (so much so that we’re back to using the blow-up mattress in the living / air-conditioned room). And September and October are typically hot and dry months for us here, so these paletas haven’t seen the last of me. As for the soup, I’d absolutely love some right now, but I may need some more time to heal before we face off again.
White Gazpacho adapted from Tartine Bread
for white gazpacho:
2 pounds raw almonds (skin off if you really want them white and don't want the hassle of having to take the skin off.)
2 cloves garlic
4 slices of 1/2 inch thick day-old bread
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
for red gazpacho garnish:
2 cups cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the white gazpacho, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the almonds and garlic and cook for at least 2 minutes. Drain. If you want a pure white gazpacho, remove the skins from the almonds when they are cool enough to handle and trim the crusts from the bread. (Removing the skins from almonds can be particularly tedious. You may want to instead, as previously mentioned, buy almonds with the skins already off.)
Transfer half of the almonds and garlic to a blender. Add half of the bread and water, along with the salt. Blend on high speed until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add half of the oil and blend again. Pass the gazpacho through a strainer into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining almonds, garlic, bread, water, and oil. Stir in the vinegar and lemon juice. The gazpacho should have the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in more water if it is too thick. Season with salt if needed. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
To make the garnish, in a bowl, combine the tomatoes and cucumber. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon the cold white gazpacho into shallow bowls and top with a few spoonfuls of the red gazpacho.
For paletas recipe, click here!