Manuka Smoked Eel, Apple Ajo Blanco, Migas and Avocado Sorbet

1:45 am on 3 February 2009

(Serves 4 to 6)

Difficulty: Intermediate

Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus 20 minutes to churn the sorbet)

Ajo blanco, meaning 'white garlic', is a chilled soup from the south of Spain. Grapes normally contrast the soup’s richness, but in this version granny smith apples add acid as well as a different perfume. Migas is a toasted garlic crumb used in Spanish cooking for thickening but in this instance it serves two different functions: one to give a crunchy texture and also for a base for the sorbet. We have eel from our own lake smoked for us by our local fish supplier, but any good fishmonger should be able to get it for you. If not, you can substitute smoked snapper or smoked hapuku.

To garnish

  • 150g Smoked eel skin removed
  • 1 granny smith for garnish
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

Ajo blanco

  • Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 180g ground almonds
  • Stale good quality bread (crusts removed)
  • 500 ml cold water
  • 2 Granny Smith apples core removed
  • 2 clove of garlic peeled
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 200 g good quality stale bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika preferably Spanish
  • 1 clove garlic crushed

Avocado sorbet

  • 3 avocados
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose syrup
  • 1 tablespoon inverted sugar
  • 400ml water


Ajo blanco

Soak the bread in the water for five minutes then place in a blender along with the almonds, apple, garlic and vinegar and blend until very smooth. With the machine still running add the olive oil slowly to create an emulsion. Season the soup with salt, pepper and extra vinegar, if necessary. Pass through a rough sieve, put in a serving jug and chill for at least 1 hour.


Put the bread and crushed garlic in a food processor and process, until rough bread crumbs form. On a medium flame, heat the olive oil in wide bottomed frying pan. Fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown, stirring often. Season with salt and the sweet paprika.

Avocado sorbet

Place the sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and glucose dissolve. Leave to cool to room temperature. Put the avocados into a food processor with the lime juice and process until smooth. With the machine still running slowly pour in the glucose, sugar and water solution, then finally the inverted sugar. Freeze the sorbet in an ice cream machine according to manufacturing instructions.

To serve

Peel the skin off the smoked eel (at the restaurant we slice this and deep fry until crisp and use it to garnish the eel) then slice into ½ cm strips, place in the corner of four bowls. Then slice the apple into matchstick sized pieces, mix with the poppy seeds and place in another corner of the bowl. Put the migas in another corner and avocado sorbet on top. Serve to guests like this then pour the soup at the table.

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