Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup

Creamy avocado and fresh cucumber partner exquisitely in this light and refreshing Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup, perfect as an elegant first course or light summer lunch on a hot afternoon. Low in carbs and high in savoury and sensory appeal, this delicious soup can be prepared well in advance and simply chilled until it's ready to be served. Just purée all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor with a dollop of crème fraîche and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and enjoy this tasty tribute to summer's abundant produce. Splurge with a garnish of cooked lobster, flaky crabmeat, or perhaps one or two large sautéed prawns, along with some chopped tomato, avocado and a shot of tabasco. Rich and creamy, this soup is best enjoyed in smaller portions, such as small bowls or shot glasses with a colourful array of festive garnishes to celebrate the season.

Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup
Serves 4

2 english cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium avocado, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt, to taste 

Garnish options:
tomatoes, chopped
avocado, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
cilantro, chopped

lobster, cooked
crabmeat, cooked canned or fresh
shrimp, sautéed or grilled

Place all the ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours. To serve, pour the soup in decorative glasses or bowls, and garnish with chopped tomato, avocado, cilantro, and crumbled feta cheese, or splurge with a topping of cooked lobster, flaky crabmeat, or a couple of large spicy shrimp.

Spicy Shrimp
Serves 4

12 jumbo or large shrimp, cleaned and shelled
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

Combine lemon juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon of oil, cilantro, cayenne, turmeric and salt in a bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Let marinate 15-30 minutes at room temperature. Sauté shrimp in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil, about 2-3 minutes per side until just cooked. Serve with chilled avocado & cucumber soup.