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The Best Recipe: Soups & Stews, Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Serves 4 TO  6

Texture is a major consideration when preparing this refreshing soup. Don't overprocess the bread, and be sure to pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer. Chop the apples for the garnish just before serving.

• 4 ounces white sandwich bread (about 5 slices), crusts removed, and crumbled into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
• 4 1/2 cups ice water
• 8 ounces whole, skinless almonds (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 pound seedless green grapes, washed and stemmed (about 2 cups)
• 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional to taste
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
• 2 cups Garlic Croutons

1. Combine the bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cups ice water in a medium bowl and set aside for several minutes to soften.

2. Place the almonds, grapes, garlic, salt, cayenne, lemon juice, and remaining 3 cups ice water in a blender. Blend until the mixture is completely liquefied, about 3 minutes. Add the breadcrumb mixture and olive oil and process until the mixture looks frothy and a bit lumpy, about ten 1-second pulses. (Do not overprocess; the mixture should not become smooth.)

3. Strain the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium mixing bowl, pushing on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract all of the liquid. Discard the solids. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

4. Ladle the gazpacho into bowls and garnish with apple, mint, and croutons. Serve immediately.

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