Avocados are a miracle food. Yes, they have a high fat content, but it’s the good fat. And, avocados are so satisfying that you couldn’t possibly eat more than one two three or so. Beyond the delicious flavor and wonderful texture, avocados offer another benefit: they can be used in so many ways. Guacamole, of course. Chopped in a salad, as a garnish or the main ingredient. Topped with crab. Or, in soups.

A cold avocado soup is perfectly refreshing. With a salad, you have a light meal. Or let the soup be the cold first course before you follow it with a slab of barbecued ribs. The contrast in heat, color and flavors creates a memorable meal.

This soup has been served twenty times at Cooking by the Book events here in New York City. It’s so yummy, that I’m still relish it.

The chile-lime pepitas, pumpkin seeds, are the perfect topping, adding salt and heat to the cold soup. I enjoy the lime so much that I do cheat and add a squeeze of lime juice here, too.

Cooking the chile and jalapeños can be done on your grill, just before you begin those ribs.

Cold Avocado Soup with Chile-Lime Pepitas

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 medium poblano chile
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into ¼-inch rings
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 medium-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz each), pitted, peeled, and cut into large chunks
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped marjoram or oregano (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 medium limes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ⅛ New Mexico chile powder, more for serving

 

Preparation:

On a gas stove, turn a burner to high and set the poblano and jalapeños directly over the flame, turning them with tongs, until completely charred, 5 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, on an electric stove, heat the broiler on high and char the peppers 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 ¼-inch dice.

Heat an 11 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and garlic, cook, turning a few times, until soft and browned in places, about 5 minutes.

In a blender, purée until smooth (all but 1 tablespoon of the poblano), the onion and garlic, the stock, avocado, cilantro, parsley, marjoram or oregano (if using), 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin, coriander, and 1 teaspoon 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 tablespoons lime juice, the chile powder, and ⅛ teaspoon salt and stir until the juice had evaporated, leaving a film on the pan.

Season the soup to taste with salt and thin with more broth if necessary. Divide among 8 cups or small bowls and garnish with the pepitas, the remaining poblano, and a few pinches of chile powder.

Source: Deborah Madison in Fine Cooking