Courtesy Tracy Chang, chef/owner, PAGU, Cambridge, MA
Ajoblanco is a classic cold soup from the Andalucía region of Spain. Tracy Chang embellishes hers with salmon roe, though trout roe or caviar would be delicious as well. Make breadcrumbs from white bread without the crusts to keep the soup light in color. Keep in mind that this soup is very rich, so serving sizes should be small.
Chef Tracy Chang
Chang’s restaurant, PAGU, merges childhood time spent in her grandmother’s Japanese restaurant with more recent years in San Sebastián, where she worked with star Basque chef Martín Berasategui. You’ll find jamón ibérico and classic pintxos alongside uni mazemen and chicken katsu, but there are dishes that bridge the two, like curry crab croquetas and squid-ink oyster bao with seaweed aioli.
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- 1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs, soaked in 1 cup water
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 ounces ikura (cured salmon roe), or other fish roe
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
Blend almonds, garlic, breadcrumbs and olive oil until smooth. As blender runs, add vinegar, salt and 1 cup water. Purée until smooth. Pass through fine-mesh strainer. Chill in refrigerator.
Serve in small bowls, topped with ikura and sprinkled with chives. Serves 4.
Txomin Etxaniz 2016 Getaria (Getariako Txakolina). “This is a crisp, mineral-driven white wine from Basque Country, where I lived,” says Chang. “It’s refreshing, due to its slightly effervescent quality, especially when poured from a high height, as they do in that part of Spain. It pairs very nicely with creamy dishes and seafood, and is a wonderful start to a meal.”