Ajo blanco with figs and mint

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus chilling
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: 15 minutes, plus chilling

Serves: 6 as a starter


200g blanched almonds 
2 thick slices rustic white bread, crusts removed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
200ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tsp fine sea salt
1-1½ tbsp sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
2 big handfuls fresh mint leaves, plus extra to serve
4 figs, quartered


1. Dry-toast the almonds in a frying pan for 3 minutes until just tinged gold; set aside to cool. Meanwhile, soak the bread in 500ml cold water.

2. Set aside 8 almonds for garnishing. Put the rest in a high-speed blender and blend on a high speed to a fine powder, then add the garlic and whizz again. Scoop the bread from its water, add to the food processor and blend to a thick paste. Add the oil, salt and vinegar and whizz, scraping down the sides, until totally smooth. Finally, blend in the remaining bread-soaking water and mint.

3. Add more cold water (up to 150 ml) to make a light soup consistency and season, adding more vinegar if needed. Sieve into a bowl, rubbing through any lumps, then chill for at least 2 hours.

4. Slice the reserved almonds lengthways. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the figs, slivered almonds, a trickle of oil and a few small mint leaves. LH