I'm out of avocados. I tried to save some of it by putting them in the fridge so I can do more recipes. But prolonged storage in the fridge changes their texture and color. They ripen very quickly in this extended summer heat. It was just perfect to make this soup last week as avocados and cucumbers are high in major and trace minerals to replace the electrolytes lost when you sweat.
Nobody in the family has ever tasted a chilled avocado soup. It’s similar to making a smoothie only a savory one. I grew up having an avocado shake with sugar and milk and that’s what the whole family really like but making it savory is something new for them. Mom didn’t even want to taste it but I’m sure that if dad were still alive, he is willing to try it. Dad is the adventurous one.
For the soup, I try to keep it as simple as possible, blending it with cucumber which acts as a liquid when blended and some green onion for a little bit of pungency. Size does matter when it comes to ingredients and one of them is green onions. Our green onions are very thin and slender. When I buy leeks, they look like green onion in North America. For saltiness, I use miso paste instead of salt, adjusting it according to your taste. I’m using some local lime called dayap instead of lemon. Our local lime has less juice than limes compared to other countries. In blending the whole ingredients, you may use chicken stock but I opt for water instead as I really want the avocados and cucumber to stand out.
I am making a prawn and scallop salsa as my garnish for this soup. This time, I’m using really prawns instead of shrimps. Two prawns per person may be too much but one is not enough so 1 ½ may be just the right amount. But then again, it also depends on the size of your prawns. So, I just combined everything and see who gets the most prawns when I spoon them onto the soup. But I’m also adding some scallops, the tiny scallops with the size of a small coin. Large scallops are usually imported, came in frozen and expensive. The only thing that takes my time is washing and cleaning the scallops. They are really dirty.
Satsuma oranges from Nueva Vizcaya are also abundant so I’m using that too, pairing it with some salty black olives. I wanted to use sun-dried black olives for this but I couldn’t find them. If you do find them, use that one instead of the regular olives.
Something spicy is always good with soup. With chili oil, you can control the heat instead of blending the chilies with the soup. You’ll never know that someone in the family or even your friends might dislike anything spicy, even just a little bit. This chili-lime oil is the final element for the dish. Although the zest doesn’t add too much flavor, you will definitely notice hints of lime flavor and a whiff of its citrus perfume.
There are so many things you can do with this chili-lime oil. You can use it in vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood in different cooking methods as well as a finishing touch to many dishes. With this chili-lime oil, you can change the type of dried chili you’re using. So, instead of just using plain red chili pepper flakes, you can experiment with different types of dried whole chilies from Mexico, Thailand or China. Now that brings a different dimension of flavors and fierceness to the oil. And a little bit goes a long way. The same thing applies to the citrus fruit. There are the different types of oranges, lemons, limes, maybe even grapefruit to try and that makes your chili-citrus oil interesting and when you need some of your dishes to spring to life, this simple flavored oil will brighten it up. They are OH-so good with soba noodle salad too. Chili-lime oil can be kept in the fridge for about a month but I don't think this oil will last that long as they are so enticing. However, if you don't like anything spicy, this Roasted Tomato Oil from Rouxbe Online Cooking School is also a good finish to the soup. Enjoy.
Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup
with Prawn-Scallop Salsa and Chili-Lime Oil
½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
¼ cup grape seed, rice bran or extra light olive oil
1 tsp water
Avocado and Cucumber Soup
1 large cucumber
3-4 green onions
2-3 tbsp unpasteurized shiro miso
1 lime, to taste
water, to dilute
8 prawns (about 1/2 lb)
12 small scallops or 4 large scallops
8 black olives
1 Mandarin or Satsuma orange
¼ cup coriander leaves
unrefined sea salt, taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 ½ tbsp extra light olive oil or rice bran oil (for cooking prawns and scallops)
To prepare the chili oil, peel and mince the shallots, then finely zest the lime peel using a microplane. In a small sauce pot, combine the minced shallots, red chili pepper flakes and oil. Heat the oil over very low heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Stir in the lime zest and the water. Let stand for at least an hour, then strain the oil into a small bowl or jar. Adding water in the oil with the lime zest dissolves and carries water-soluble flavors. Set aside, while you prepare the soup.
To make the avocado and cucumber soup, peel and roughly chop the cucumber, then cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh. Next, cut the root ends of the green onion and cut into 2 inch pieces. Place the cucumber, avocado and green onion in a blender. Squeeze the lime juice and add 2 tablespoon of the miso paste. Blend the ingredients adding the water to dilute the mixture until smooth and creamy. Season the soup (to taste) with more miso paste and lime juice if necessary.
Transfer the soup into a large bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Chill 4 individual serving bowls at the same time.
To prepare the garnish, peel and devein the prawns, and clean, drain and dry the scallops. Next, peel the orange and divide the segments. Peel each segment of the orange and cut in 3-4 pieces. Next, slice the black olives and remove the coriander leaves from the stem.
To cook the prawns and scallops, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, season the prawns and scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the pan is nice and hot, add one tablespoon of the oil. Then, add the prawns, lower the heat slightly and cook for 2 minutes per side or less or until they are cooked. Transfer the prawns to a plate. Add the rest of the oil and cook the scallops. With the scallops this small, I cook them for only 15 seconds or less. The other side requires even less cooking. Remove and transfer to a bowl. Then, add the orange pieces, black olives and cilantro. Cut the prawns into 3 or 4 pieces depending on the size and add these to the bowl. Season with a little bit of sea salt and black pepper (if necessary) and drizzle with chili-lime oil. Toss gently with a spoon to combine.
To serve the dish, bring out the four individual bowls and the avocado soup from the fridge. Ladle the soup onto the bowls, then garnish with the prawn and scallop salsa and finish with more drizzle of the chili-lime oil.