Cold Almond, Melon and Pastis Soup (with Crispy Ham) Recipe by Alex Jackson | Food

T:it is based on the famous Andalusian frozen almond soup, White garlic. The pastis gives it a nice anise note. The sherry vinegar is really important here. its dark, deep character pulls everything together very well, while a bit of lemon juice adds a brighter acidity to balance the pastis. Melon is my go-to addition to this dish on hot summer days, spoon-wrapped, dripping pale orange juices into a white pool of very cold soup. And the crispy bacon is delicious with it because… well, it’s crispy bacon. I’ve always found that using almond flour rather than grinding whole almonds gives a smoother result. Alternatively, you could strain the soup through a sieve before adding your chunks, but I hate straining things with a passion and will do anything to avoid it.

Serves 4
ground almonds 250 g (almond flour)
garlic ½ clove, peeled and ground to a fine paste with salt
cold water 325 ml
olive oil 2 tbsp
sherry vinegar 2 tbsp
pastis 1 tbsp
cured ham 2 thin slices (prosciutto, serrano or bayonet ham if possible)
ripe melon 1 pc (preferably charentais), frozen
sea ​​salt

Add the almonds and crushed garlic to a blender and blend until extremely smooth. The paste will reach a stage where it won’t go smoother without adding a bit of water, so add enough water to make it easier. If you add water too quickly, the paste will thin out before it has had a chance to be cut thinner, and your soup will not be smooth. Continue mixing slowly, adding water, until you are satisfied that the almond paste is suitably smooth.

When all the water has been added and the almond soup has reached the consistency of a cream filling, drizzle in the olive oil. (You can always add more water if the soup is too thick.) Add the sherry vinegar and paste, then season with salt to taste. Chill the soup thoroughly in the refrigerator. (The chilling process can be sped up a bit by adding ice to the almond paste instead of water when the soup is almost ready.)

While you wait for the soup to cool, crisp up the ham slices by gently frying them in a pan or baking them in a low oven. Crumble the bacon into crumbs and set aside.

When ready to serve, spoon out the cooled melon curls into serving bowls. Pour over the almond soup, then drizzle with olive oil and top with the crispy ham. Serve very cold, if necessary put an extra piece of ice in the bowl.

Starting Sardine By Alex Jackson (Ballroom, £25)

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