Green gazpacho - a different take on a favorite chilled soup
Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com
When faced with the choice between a delicious, fresh-off-the-grill hamburger and something that I know is good for me, I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t always choose wisely. It is for this reason that I have been trying to accumulate healthy and seasonal recipes that also taste good enough to crave. This is one of those.
Gazpacho is a chilled soup with roots that can be traced through the Andalusian region in Spain and back to northern Africa and the Middle East. Traditionally made with stale bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and vegetables, ‘gazpacho’ has evolved over time to refer to a panoply of vegetable-based chilled soups.
I love a traditional Gazpacho Andaluz, but since the tomatoes in the pots on my back deck are not anywhere near ready for consumption, I decided to attempt a green gazpacho.
Green gazpachos are a loosely defined lot. Some are made with tomatillos, some with melon, others with green grapes. This recipe was appealing in its simplicity. I had cilantro, mint and parsley left over from making quinoa salad the night before. I’ve always got avocado, yogurt and vegetable broth on hand, and the chives on my deck are growing like wildfire.
I didn’t notice until I was nearly done with the preparation that this soup doesn’t call for any acid. There’s no citrus or vinegar which are usually found in gazpachos and almost always found in recipes that include avocado. I enjoyed the flavor of the soup as the recipe is written, but if you miss the acidity of some lemon or sherry vinegar, try adding that in after you’ve tasted for seasoning.
Green Gazpacho adapted from a recipe on MeltingPotTours.com1 cup of your favorite greens, chopped coarsely (arugula, mustard greens, spinach)
2 cups lettuce, chopped coarsely (red or green leaf, iceberg, butter or mache lettuce)
1 poblano or Anaheim pepper, cored, seeded, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, or 3 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup plain yogurt or creme fraiche - plus more for garnish if desired
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish if desired
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Finely chopped chives and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Large cooked shrimp or rolled-up prosciutto slices, for garnish
Place greens, lettuce, chili, cucumber, mint, parsley, cilantro, and broth in blender jar. Blend on high speed, scraping down sides of blender, until all ingredients are well combined. Add avocado and cream and continue to blend until creamy.
Pour the quarter cup of olive oil in a steady stream while you are running the blender on a medium speed, and continue blending until it is fully incorporated. Add the salt and the desired amount of freshly-ground pepper.
At this point you can also add more broth and/or yogurt to adjust consistency; blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, then cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Serve in a small bowl or a cocktail glass, finish with chopped chives and drizzle of oil or a dollop of créme fraiche. Garnish with shrimp or rolled slices of ham, as desired. Yields 4-6 first-course servings.
Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for AnnArbor.com, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at JessicaWebster@annarbor.com. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.