leave your inhibitions at the door
A few month’s ago, I gave a mixed review to one of the finer restaurants here in Ann Arbor – Pacific Rim. In a nutshell, the food is fantastic and I definitely recommend going there. Once. The issue I had was that the menu has barely changed in six years, so repeat visits start to get a little boring.
But if you go there, there’s a good chance that their avocado soup will be on the menu. Order it! It is delicious. Even though it’s got ingredients more at home in a Mexican dish – avocado, cilantro, jalapeño – it somehow fits perfectly in the Asian fusion restaurant. The slight heat from the jalapeno is a great compliment to the richness of the avocado and cream. It’s chilled and has a lot of the flavors of summer, but I wouldn’t hesitate to have this year-round.
A friend of mine sweet-talked the restaurant into giving her the recipe and asked that I make it for a gathering at her house. I made a few slight modifications to it mainly for presentation and it came out great. Attendees at the party thought my version was as better than the original. As if there were any doubt…
Spicy Avocado Cream Soup
– 1 Tablespoon garlic
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 green pepper, chopped
– 1 jalepeno, chopped with seeds
– ¼ cup dry white wine
– 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock or water)
– 1 large tomato, chopped
– ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
– 1 handful of spinach
– juice of 1 lime
– Salt and pepper
– 3 avocados
– 1 cup cream
1. Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and jalepeno. Sauté until browned.
2. Turn up the heat to high and deglaze with wine, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot.
3. Add stock, tomato, cilantro and bring to simmer.
4. Remove from heat, add lime juice, spinach, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Puree in a blender and chill
6. After chilled, remove seed and skin from avocado and puree with soup base and cream.
7. Serve topped with crabmeat and fried wanton chips or tortilla strips.
– I used ½ a jalapeno as the one I had was huge
– I didn’t think that the soup base was very “clean looking” so I strained it through a mesh sieve after blending. There was also a lot of tomato pulp in there that was making it a little acidic.
– Crabmeat isn’t very easy to find in Ann Arbor and I didn’t want to use canned or imitation. I originally planned on using lobster medallions, but the tails I got smelled funky. So I had to use shrimp as a last minute substitution.
– For the fried wanton, I wanted to get some long strips to give it some height in the presentation and to keep the shrimp out of the soup. I couldn’t find big wrappers so used scissors to spiral cut round ones. I slowly lowered them into hot oil to create mini birds’ nests. Again, this is completely optional.