I first heard of Almond Soup on Evan Kleinman's radio show/podcast Good Food. She and her guest talked about Ajo Blanco - a kind of gazpacho from southern Spain. I thought, "cool, I was wondering what I was going to do with all those raw almonds that I just I bought..."
I dug around a little bit online to find a recipe; searching "spanish almond soup" I found a theme, grasped some basic ratios, and set out on making it my soup, albiet not Ajo Blanco. Garlic, saffron, and bread or bread crumbs were present in all of them. Besides those, some had cumin, some had milk, some had vinegar, some even had cinnamon.
In full disclosure and truthiness, three of the recipes I found were completely identical: the one from costadelsol-vacationrentals.com, from ezinearticles.com, and also eatmoreherbs.com. They all started with, "Heat the oil and toast the almonds, garlic, bread and saffron. When golden brown set a few..." and completed the recipe verbatim. I wonder who got screwed.
In any case, this is what I came up with. The key is blending the Jiminy Cricket out of it and running it through a strainer. The yield is less but the result is not nearly as grainy. Almonds don't break down under heat like, say, peanuts or other legumes will.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaved parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- the juice of 1 lemon
Heat the almonds and garlic over medium-high heat with the olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, just until the garlic develops a little color and the almonds become fragrant. In another pot, bring the 6 cups of stock to a simmer.
Add the saffron, cumin, and breadcrumbs to the almond mixture and begin to stir them well. This will bloom the flavor of the cumin and saffron and cook any raw flavor out of the breadcrumbs - about another minute.
Add 2 cups of the stock to the pan to deglaze, bring back to a simmer, then transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Blend thoroughly, 2-3 minutes.
Pour the blended almond mixture through a strainer into the simmering stock. Add the lemon juice, check the seasoning and serve hot.
You can garnish with slivered almonds, and a pinch of the parsley.
I used raw, unsalted almonds. I'm sure you can use roasted and/or salted you simply would not need to cook them as long, and adjust the salt accordingly. I would also not recommend an emersion blender, they wouldn't be able to break down whole almonds like a good 'ole stand blender can.