Ajo Blanco with Slow-Roasted Grapes and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Credit: Scott Samuel, Chef-Instructor, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, Calif.
The National Culinary Review, May 2011
4 stale baguette slices
3 cups water, divided
¾ cup almonds, blanched, peeled
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 T. extra-virgin olive oil + more, as needed
2 T. sherry vinegar
½ t. kosher salt
½ lb. green seedless California grape bunch
Sea salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
Red grapes, sliced, for garnish
1. Put baguette slices in bowl; add 1 cup water to cover. Let soak 5 minutes, until softened.
2. Put almonds and garlic in blender; pulse until almonds finely ground.
3. Squeeze out water from bread; add to blender. Pulse a few times; blend to smooth paste. Add enough water to make smooth texture. With motor running, add 6 T. extra virgin olive oil in slow stream. Add vinegar and kosher salt. Thin ingredients with ½ cup water to desired consistency. Chill for service.
4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss grape bunch with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat; season with sea salt and cayenne pepper. Roast on baking sheet 30-40 minutes, or until grapes are starting to pop and release juices. Remove; discard stems. Cool. Put roasted grapes in mixing bowl; add juices from roasting pan. Toss to combine. To serve: Stir; divide among bowls. Garnish with roasted grapes, sliced red grapes and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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