This soup is perfect for a special occasion, especially since Marcona almonds are more expensive than the conventional almonds that you find on supermarket shelves in the US and the UK. Marcona almonds are shorter and rounder than other varieties. They have a sweeter taste, and their texture is uniquely soft. Marcona almonds are light colored with a shriveled, sun-dried look. Quite simply—they are the best!
1 1/2 pounds raw Spanish Marcona almonds
6 cups flat mineral water
3 garlic cloves
3/4 cup aged sherry vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups Spanish extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
3 slices of rustic bread, crusts removed, about 2 ounces
4 fresh black figs, quartered
4 tablespoons roughly chopped Spanish Marcona almonds
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Place the blanched almonds into a bowl, cover with the mineral water, and let soak overnight.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot over high heat. Add the garlic and boil for 1 minute, then drain the garlic and cool. Drain the soaked almonds, reserving the soaking liquid, and put them in a blender or food processor.
Add the garlic, reserved soaking liquid, 3/4 cup of the sherry vinegar, 2 cups of the olive oil, and bread, and purée until smooth. Place a colander over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Pour the soup into the colander. Once most of the liquid has passed through the colander, gather the cheesecloth around the remaining solids and squeeze gently to release as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Pour the soup into a pitcher and chill for 30 minutes. To serve, divide the fig pieces and Marcona almonds among soup bowls. Pour in the cold soup, sprinkle with chopped chives, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Photo Credit: Hungry Canuck