CHILLED ALMOND SOUP with GARLIC
3 cups crustless day-old bread cubes
1½ cups water
1 cup blanched almonds, soaked in water 8 to 12 hours
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or Basic Almond Milk (page 9)
3 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise, germ removed (see tip)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sliced natural almonds, for garnish
1½ cups seedless green grapes, for garnish
To make the soup, put the bread cubes, water, blanched almonds, almond milk, garlic, and salt in a blender and process on high speed until very smooth. This could take 2 minutes or longer. With the motor running, pour in the oil and vinegar. Put a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and strain the mixture through it. Cover and refrigerate until cold. This can be done up to 2 days in advance.
To prepare the garnishes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the sliced almonds in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake them for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly toasted and browned. Transfer to a cool baking sheet or large plate and let cool completely. Cut the grapes in half lengthwise and put them in a small bowl. Both the toasted almonds and grapes can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.
Garnish each serving of soup with one-quarter of the toasted almonds, placing the almonds in the center of the soup. Drizzle olive oil around the almonds. Serve at once, accompanied by the bowl of the grapes.
TIP The germ is a small sprout in the center of a garlic clove. It’s often in the process of turning green, either at the tip or all the way to the root. Because the germ can be bitter and cause indigestion, it’s a good idea to remove it.