Dinner Tonight: Potato Soup with Fried Almonds
When it comes to satisfying soups made with a bunch of pantry staples, we all have a lot to learn from the Spanish. Whereas I see stale bread and too much garlic, they see gazpacho. Where I see a mishmash of potatoes, almonds, and a little bit of ham, Anya von Bremzen in The New Spanish Table sees a remarkably filling potato soup with fried almonds. It may look simple and basic, but while definitely satisfying and comforting, it's also loaded with flavor.
Each ingredient is cooked in a way to maximize its potential. The blanched and skinned almonds are fried with the garlic until golden. Once removed and ground up in a food processor, the ham and then the potatoes are fried in the same oil. Chicken stock is added, some saffron tossed in (this is a Spanish recipe, after all), and then the ground almonds are stirred in. The mixture adds a roasted nut flavor, while also thickening up the soup. If there wasn't enough going on, some sherry is added at the last minute to perk everything up.