Some recipes are so unique that the taste, smell and texture stays with you forever. So it is with Chilled Avocado Soup and my celebration of the 200th birthday of America in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was a foreign exchange student living with a Mexican family and attending the University of Guadalajara. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, but on July 4th, 1976, a particularly notable bicentennial celebration, I was homesick. I was daydreaming of potato salad, barbecued chicken and strawberry shortcake. What the cook of the household set before me was a strange, pale green concoction in a bowl. I sat in stunned silence as she announced: "Sopa de Aguacate."
When you are a guest in a foreign country, you do not refuse food. It is an insult to your hosts. I reluctantly dipped in my spoon and braced myself for something weird and inedible that must be choked down at any cost. Much to my astonishment, it was creamy, frothy, sweet and savory - one of the most delicious soups I have ever eaten still to this day. Now that I think about it, who doesn't love avocados in any way, shape or form? And folks have touted the creamy green flesh as having almost magical powers: keeping you thin, protecting your vision and even curing cancer!
I recreated the food memory recently, fearing that I would be disappointed, since almost all recreated dishes pale in comparison to a powerful food memory. Much to my surprise, this soup was even more delicious than that of my memory. I used just a hint of freshly grated nutmeg - not enough to actually taste the nutmeg on its own, but just a hint of something intriguing added to give depth. I also used Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream, which I am sure our Guadalajara cook used.
This refreshing cool and frothy summer soup is a snap to make in your blender and the taste and texture are amazing . Put this soup on your "100 Things to Eat Before I Die" list!
"Feasting is also closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way in order to remember who we are. Why else would you eat grits in Madison, New Jersey?"
Jeff Smith, 'The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast'
GUADALAJARA CHILLED AVOCADO SOUP
Serves 6 as a first course; Total time 20 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 large ripe Haas avocados
8 ounces low fat plain Greek yogurt
2 cans (14 ounces each) vegetable broth (I used Swanson's)
Juice of 1 lime
A little freshly grated nutmeg, as desired
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the diced onion in the butter for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place the onion mixture in a blender with all remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. Chill. Garnish with diced avocado, tomato and cucumber, as desired.
-- posted by Donna