Sometimes trying new things comes in waves. Like, I decided to try out having a kid and then two weeks later decided it was time to try out my hand at my first chilled soup recipe. Okay, so maybe there isn’t a parallel there but I do have a kid who wakes every 45 minutes or so and so recipes that can be done really, really quickly … or in steps done over several hours or days … are about all we can handle these days. And this chilled soup was perfect for that. I charred and chopped the poblano chile a day before I needed it. The rest of the soup came together in about ten minutes.
The flavor of this soup was nicely tart from the lime and cilantro. The consistency was very smooth, but not overly decadent, due to the plain yogurt. The pepitas made this work by added a juxtaposing textural element that kept the palate from being bored with all of the smoothness. (I really don’t like yogurt because of the lack of textural inspiration). However, this soup tastes RICH. I served it for a simple lunch and found myself “done” with the soup before I was done with the lunch. This soup, in my opinion, would work best as a very small starter to a nice, Mexican dinner. In fact, I have the menu in mind but no way to execute it until my newborn starts sleeping longer hours. So try this soup, but don’t plan on filling yourself with it or you might end up with a little too much of a good thing.
Cold Avocado Soup with Chile-Lime Pepitas
From Fine Cooking 103, p. 50
1 small white onion, sliced into 1/4 -inch-thick rings
2-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth; more as needed
2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram or oregano (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/8 tsp. pure New Mexico chile powder; more for serving
On a gas stove, turn a burner to high and set the poblano directly over the flame, turning it with tongs, until completely charred, 5 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, on an electric stove, heat the broiler on high and char the poblano on all sides on a baking sheet placed directly under the broiler. Put the poblano in a bowl, cover, and set aside to steam and loosen the skin. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed, and cut the poblano into 1/4 -inch dice.
Heat an 11- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook, turning a few times, until soft and browned in places, about 5 minutes.
In a blender, purée until smooth all but 1 Tbs. of the poblano, the onion, broth, avocado, cilantro, parsley, marjoram or oregano (if using), 2 Tbs. of the lime juice, cumin, coriander, and 1 tsp. salt. Blend in the yogurt. Season to taste with more salt. Chill well.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook until they begin to pop and color a bit, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice, the chile powder, and 1/8 tsp. salt and stir until the juice has evaporated, leaving a film on the pan.
Season the soup to taste with salt and thin with broth if necessary. Divide among 6 cups or small bowls and garnish with the pepitas, the remaining poblano, and a few pinches of chile powder.