A refreshingly updated version of the classic tomato-based cold Spanish soup, this gazpacho starts with a beautiful pale-green cucumber broth, light and cool, with just enough body to give it substance. Its surprising garnishes really bring it to life. Chopped scallions, toasted slivered almonds, cucumber chunks, and sweet-tart green grapes add an exciting mix of textures and flavors and keep it all elegantly green and white. This soup has so much visual and taste impact it’s perfect for a dinner party where you really want to impress. It is also fun to serve half-portions in martini glasses at a cocktail party.
Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently; set aside.
Set aside 1 cup of the chopped cucumber for a garnish. Soak the bread in the water until soft, about 2 minutes. Place the soaked bread, the rest of the cucumber, the garlic, 1/4 cup of the scallion whites, the vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the almonds, the salt, and oil in a food processor and process until the cucumbers are completely blended and the liquid and almonds are almost completely invisible, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt and vinegar, if desired.
To serve, ladle 1 cup gazpacho into each serving bowl. Mound 1/4 cup of the reserved chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon of the remaining scallion whites, 2 Tbs. of the grapes, and 1 tsp. of the almonds in the center of the soup and serve.
Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer