I had visions of serving this as a first course or in a shot glass as an hors d'oeuvre at a themed dinner party, dressed up with panko bread crumbs that have been tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted until a deep golden brown. The crispy topping contrasting with the smooth, cooling avocado/buttermilk and the spicy kick from chili flakes sounded like a perfect entertaining dish.
Alas, I ended up making this soup under far less glamorous conditions: after a solid 8 hours of school, brain fried and energy levels barely registering. It's a soup that takes about 5 minutes of active prep to get on the table, mostly owing to the fact that it's a cold soup. Just wave a knife at a few ingredients, throw it into the blender and then chill it in the fridge for a bit and dinner is ready. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for recipes like this on days like that. And the time it spends chilling? I can just take a quick nap and wake refreshed no longer searching for the energy to lift my spoon to my mouth.
It's creamy but not in a heavy way, it's more of a mouth feel thing and brightened up with lime and chili flakes, no one flavor dominating. It felt nourishing after a long day, swiping the last drops clean from the bowl with some bread. So, as we squeeze out the last days of summer, or whatever this season is we're experiencing, you may also be thankful to have one last chilled soup recipe. For those days you'd rather spend outside, or for easy entertaining, or when your brain has been in hyper-drive and you'd rather not fuss about a meal.
Adapted from Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, Sophie Dahl
Orginally, the recipe called for 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt but I didn't have any around. Instead what I had was a small carton of buttermilk that I needed to use up. It may have lacked the body the yogurt would have given it, but a good substitute none the less. Heck, now that I think about it, you could even make this using some silken tofu in place of the dairy. When choosing a chicken (or vegetable) broth, use one that is on the lighter side, you don't want the flavor overwhelming the avocado. It's best to eat this within hours of making otherwise the avocado starts to oxidize and turn brown and the chili flakes take over flavor-wise.
Makes 4 cups
2 ripe avocados
1 green apple, cored, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon of dried red chile flake
juice from ½ a lime
2 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
pinch of salt
Fresh chopped cilantro, to garnish
Slip the avocados out of their skin and discard the pit. Toss the avocado, apple slices, buttermilk, chile flakes and lime juice into a blender. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Warm the broth just slightly in a pan and then add to the pureed mixture with a pinch of salt. Blend again until everything in combined. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Enjoy.