Monday, July 6, 2009

Avocado Corn Soup

When the weather warms up, I like to prepare dishes that are served cold for two reasons: One the dishes are refreshing; and two, I don't have to heat the kitchen to serve the dishes, although they often do require cooking which may be done ahead. Also, I like to serve dishes in the summer that pair well with crisp wines, which introduces a broader palette of spice flavors and citrus to my cooking. One of my favorite is this avocado corn soup that is served chilled. The flavors in this dish are bold yet perfectly balanced. It may be made a day ahead except for the cilantro infused olive oil that is made no more than three hours ahead. It's a nice vegetarian dish which can be made vegan if the sour cream is omitted.

It's fun to make too. The stock of the soup is made by boiling corn cobs, corn and onions together with a bit of salt as if the cobs are the bones in the stock. The soup is brought together in a blender and then chilled for serving. Avocado balls are added to the soup as the meat of the soup to give texture to the dish. It is delicious and beautiful to look at too.

Avocado Corn Soup

6 servings as a soup course

Soup Ingredients
1 fresh ear of corn shucked
1 garlic clove peeled and smashed
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cup minced sweet onion (vidalias work great)
1 fresh Serrano chile stem and seeds removed then the chile is minced (add the seeds back if you want more heat)
2 firm-ripe avocados
Juice of one lime
Sour cream (about 1/4 cup)

Cilantro infused olive oil ingredients
1 bunch cilantro torn from stems
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

To make the soup, grill the corn until the kernels are lightly caramelized. Cut corn from cobs, and cut cobs into thirds. In a saute pan add water, corn cob pieces, corn, 1/2 cup onion, garlic and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce by half, remove and discard cobs, and transfer the rest to a blender and add in the chile. Blend until smooth. Add the flesh of 1-1/2 avocados to blender and blend until smooth again. Adjust seasonings and cool.

Prepare cilantro oil: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the cilantro is pulverized. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl without pressing on solids. The oil should be bright green.

To serve, place soup in a bowl and cut balls of avocado with a melon baller and add to soup as the meat. Drizzle with sour cream and cilantro oil and enjoy.

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