Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Spicy Shrimp and Sauce


Last night, we had one of our gourmet group gatherings.  Our assigned recipe to bring was this delicious, chilled soup.  I needed to make a couple of  'tweaks' to the recipe as I found the soup too thick and just a bit  bland.  With just a couple of adjustments it turned out wonderful and got rave reviews at dinner.

The star of the show was the spicy shrimp and shrimp sauce which is probably the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Luckily, it can be made the day before. Even the soup can be made ahead which makes this a wonderful recipe if you have a busy day.


You need to buy shell-on shrimp in order to make the shrimp sauce as the shrimp shells are used to make a flavorful shrimp reduction.


The drizzle of sauce around the shrimp flavor the cool cucumber avocado soup beautifully. It a wonderful contrast of hot and cold, spicy and mellow.

I know Mother's Day is celebrated at different times in different parts of the world but here are a few of my spring flowers to wish the mothers of the world a joyous day. Happy Mother's Day!



Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Spicy Shrimp Sauce
Adapted from Food & Wine
Printable Recipe

My Notes: When I tasted the soup after preparing the recipe as written, I found it a little bland and far too thick so I added the chicken broth to thin the soup (you could use vegetable stock) and added the Tabasco to 'brighten' the flavor. I made the soup and shrimp sauce the day before and sauteed the shrimp just before serving.

1 large European cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 Hass avocados—pitted, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 oz chicken broth or stock
Several good dashes of Tabasco
Kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tablespoon honey

Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 mint leaves, chopped

In a blender, combine the cucumber, avocados, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes. (I used a food processor and got a good puree so didn't need to strain). Add enough chicken or vegetable broth to obtain the desired consistency and flavor with a few splashes of Tabasco. Taste and adjust seasonings.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shrimp shells, garlic, shallot and carrot and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the shells are lightly browned, and the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the peppercorns, coriander seeds, crushed red pepper and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water, honey and remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Strain the shrimp sauce into a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp, add the shrimp sauce and simmer just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter.

Ladle the soup in soup bowls, spoon the hot shrimp into the middle and drizzle the shrimp sauce on top. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and serve.

Make Ahead The cucumber soup and shrimp sauce can be refrigerated overnight separately. Reheat the shrimp sauce gently before using. If you are short on time, the cucumber-avocado soup is delicious on its own. Just follow the recipe through step 1, then serve with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped mint.

49 comments:

  1. Happy Mother's Day, Susan! The soup looks amazing, I wish I could have some! I love how you kicked it up a bit with the Tabasco, nice flavor, I'm sure.

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  2. Your soup is beautiful Susan, great colors! Lovin' the fun daffs too! Happy Mother's Day:@)

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  3. Happy Mother's Day Susan! The shrimp would be my favorite part - love your flowers! xo,

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  4. Oh my gosh that looks and sounds so good. 3 of my favorite things in one dish! And it would be totally mine since it 3 of the things that Randy can't stand lol. Those shrimp have me very hungry. Happy Mother's Day to you my friend! Thanks for playing along with this months cooking mag challenge.

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  5. You added the finishing touches..the stock would definitely help the soup..I bet it was delicious..cause it's gorgeous!

    Hope you are having a great day nana.

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  6. Buona festa della mamma Susan! adoro il pesce..mi piace moltissimo questa ricetta...e anche le foto!!un abbraccio!

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  7. Delicious flavors!! Beautiful colors!

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  8. wow what an amazing soup great for warm weather

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  9. I was just talking about this soup to a friend about how delicious it would be! Yours has even surpassed my expectations! Happy Mothers Day!

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  10. This sounds like a delicious Spring soup. I hope you have had a wonderful Mothers Day!!

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  11. This soup looks so wonderfully versatile gourmet and delicious. I love shrimp sauce garnish looks especially good.

    Hope you had a wonderful Mother's day!

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  12. Susan, the soup looks fresh and beautiful and so perfect for this time of year. Happy Mother's Day!

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  13. Ummm. thanks so much for sharing.
    xo bj

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  14. Love the colour of the soup. The flower mosaic is beautiful. Thank for sharing it with us. Take care.

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  15. Such a visually appealing soup ~ love the colors! Sounds delicious!

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  16. I'll come and eat in your kitchen any time! Nancy

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  17. Your soup sounds lovely! I love the contrast of the flavors- they sound as if they complement each other perfectly. :)

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  18. What a delectable looking soup. I love the idea of the spicy shrimp and the cool vegetables. Definitely something to try when things warm up a little more.

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  19. Susan, this looks delicious, not to mention how beautiful it is, and I love shrimp! I'm going to be making this soup! I hope you had a wonderful Mom's day!

    Mary

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  20. What can I say? It's a perfect recipe for spring time!Lovely photos Susan,have a good week,full of serenity..A warm hug...

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  21. Looks and sounds like a great soup. I love the spicy shrimp. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

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  22. The soup sounds delicious with several of my favorite things: shrimp, avocado and cucumber. Yum. Thanks for the flowers for Mother's Day. Lovely! Happy Monday!

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  23. Excellent recipe that I will make soon; I love the flavors, in fact one of my favorite salads is avocado and shrimp; the photos are also beautiful!

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  24. The soup (and also the china) really looks fantastic. You could write a cookbook Susan.
    And the Springflower-mosaic is very sweet.

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  25. Your soup looks beautiful and delicious! I love shrimps! And I think that I'll have second helpings with your soup!
    Happy Mother's Day!

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  26. Happy mother's day Susan.
    The soup looks really good. I love spicy shrimp. It tastes really good.

    Have a great week ahead.

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  27. That is the most beautiful soup I've ever seen! Beautiful flowers mosaic, too.

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  28. I'm kind of surprised the lime juice and vinegar didn't perk this up, Susan. It's a lovely soup....will try it sometime this summer and keep the tabasco at hand!
    Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

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  29. The color alone is stunning! Beautiful soup.
    Yvonne

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  30. It looks beautiful! I can never get enough flavor with the raw shrimp shells alone. I am still looking for shrimp stock, but haven't found it yet.

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  31. This soup look wonderful never made an avocado soup look nice! beauty picture!
    Hope you had a lovely Moms day, gloria

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  32. First time in your blog and find a delicious soup recipe, avocado soup looks superb and the blend of flavor and taste is awesome!
    Happy Mother's Day, Susan!

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  33. That soup looks wonderful; you are right; I found out cooking shrimps with the shells adds great great flavour to my shrimp bisque. Aren't those cooking groups fun?
    Rita

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  34. Susan, the soup looks so beautiful with light green colour from cucumber and avocado. I really love that you cooked the shrimps with the shells. It certainly added extra flavours to the dish.

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  35. Happy mother's day Susan. I hope you had a wonderful day.

    Your soup is gorgeous and so beautifully presented with the shrimp and the drizzle of sauce. Shrimp shells have an an incredible about of flavor and add so much to a dish. I make a cold avocado soup, but yours is so much more sophisticated and complex. I'm bookmarking it for a special dinner party.
    Sam

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  36. Sounds like the best savory cold soup I have ever heard of. I would just love the shrimp and would probably be trying to steal my husband's out of his dish. The presentation is fabulous too. Love the spiciness. I need to make this for one of our dinner groups. Isn't it fun having a group of people to cook for who are willing to try new and exciting dishes?!!

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  37. What a gorgeous green, wholesome soup! This looks absolutely delicious, and it sounds like you had a very enjoyable Mother's Day, Susan! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a kind comment, too. I'm so glad to have found yours! :)

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  38. Susan, I love the colors in this beautiful, creamy soup!

    Cold avocado soup is one soup I overdose on every summer, but the shrimp sauce in your recipe, takes it to a whole new level.

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  39. That is a gorgeous soup! I love the pale green color, so elegant. And the way the pink shrimp looks against...gorgeous, again. And delicious too, I'm certain.

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  40. Bev's not a big fan of cold soups but I've got to try this

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  41. The soft colors in these photos compliment the cooling nature of the soup so well! I'm completely enamored and I don't even really like cucumber!

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  42. The shrimp reduction looks quite intriguing with the blend of warm spices. It must make a nice contrast to the cool creamy and refreshing soup.

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  43. This sounds like an awesome soup, and it does looks good in the pictures! I am sure it tastes just as good as well, what an interesting (and unique) soup; different from all the conventional ones served :D

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  44. Susan, this soup looks delicious, I love the avocado creamy texture and the refreshing cucumber...all together with some spicy shrimp...fantastic combination. Hope you are enjoying your week :-)

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  45. This is beautiful. I love the color and flavor combination. Gorgeous.

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  46. I know I've said this before but... I want to come to your house for dinner! That looks delicious!

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  47. The soup sounds amazing! Love the flavours, bookmarked!

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  48. Beautiful! I'm looking forward to catching up with blogs--sort of like sitting down with a good cookbook!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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