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Ajo Blanco with Slow-Roasted Grapes and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Table Grape Commission
From: Chef Scott Samuel, CIA Greystone. Yield: 6 servings.

¾ cup almonds, blanched and peeled
4 baguette slices, stale
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cups water
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ lb. green seedless grape bunch
to taste, sea salt and cayenne pepper
as needed for garnish, red grapes

For soup: Put bread in a bowl and add 1 cup of the water to cover. Let soak for 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, place almonds and garlic in a blender and pulse a few times. Add bread and blend to a smooth paste Add enough of the remaining 2 cups of water to create a smooth texture for the chilled soup. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream, then vinegar and salt. Thin the ingredients with ½ water to the desired consistency. Chill  until serving time.

Watch a demo; recipe continues below

For roasted grapes: Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss grape bunch with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat; season with sea salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes, or until grapes are just starting to pop and are releasing juices. Remove and discard stems; cool. Place roasted grapes into a mixing bowl and add juices from the roasting pan. Toss to combine.

Stir soup before serving in bowls. Garnish with roasted grapes, sliced red grapes and drizzles of extra virgin olive oil.

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