The weather in southern Ontario is heating up, and we have had almost a full week of sun for the first time in months. I always welcome this return to summer as if it is the first one. It is almost surprising to see everything so green again after months of darkness.
My Soup of The Week celebrates this return of the sunshine with a traditional cold Spanish soup. Ajoblanco Extremeño, from the Extremadura region of Spain which boasts a wonderful if lesser-known culinary tradition full of traditional Mediterranean pork and other dishes.
This is a refreshing and hearty cold soup that can be enjoyed outside under the beautiful sun.
Ajoblanco Extremeño, a refreshing summertime soup from Spain
Ajoblanco Extremeño is related to the Ajoblanco soup from Granada and Málaga and it traces its origins all the way back to Roman cuisine.
Ajoblanco Extremeño adds egg yolks to the emulsion and omits the traditional almonds and sliced grapes garnish.
If you wish to be traditional, a large mortar and pestle followed by a firm whisk to make the emulsion will be necessary. Otherwise, a high-powered blender will suffice. Just make sure to leave out the extra virgin olive oil until the end, as a blender will turn it bitter.
Starting off with stale sourdough bread, soaked overnight in milk is best. I prefer einkorn wheat sourdough and raw, unpasteurized milk. Whichever milk you choose — make it a full-fat version, not skim.
I omit tomatoes in mine and prefer to serve chilled cucumber slices on the side instead of blended into the soup. Here I add white asparagus to my Ajoblanco Extremeño, which you are welcome to leave out as the asparagus is not traditional. Tomatoes and cucumbers are and they both make a fantastic addition to the flavours if you choose to add them.
Ajoblanco Extremeño (Cold Spanish Soup)
A cold and refreshing soup from Spain, Ajoblanco Extremeño is a lovely summertime soup.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Spanish
- 4 cups of stale sourdough bread, soaked overnight in milk
- 1 bunch white asparagus
- 3 cups full-fat whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish and serving
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Bring a pot of water to boil and simmer the white asparagus until tender.
- Remove and allow to cool, trimming off the tender tips, and discarding any woody or stringy ends.
- In a blender, combine the milk, garlic, half of the cooled asparagus, milk-soaked bread, and 1 cup of cold water and blend at high speed until creamy. If the mixture is lumpy, you may wish to sieve it through a fine mesh.
- Add the egg yolk and blend for another minute.
- Remove mixture from blender and whisk in the olive oil.
- Season with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Transfer soup to the refrigerator until well chilled.
To Serve: take the remaining cooked white asparagus spears and toss them in a mixture of olive oil and salt & pepper. Rub your croutons with olive oil and fresh garlic. Shake or stir your soup and thin with cold water or milk if necessary. Serve soup with asparagus spears and croutons on top. Add another drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and more black pepper to taste.
Add tomatoes and/or cucumbers and omit the white asparagus for a more traditional and authentic Ajoblanco Extremeño.
Keywords: Ajoblanco Extremeño, spanish soup, cold soup