Chilled Marcona Almond & Poblano Chile Soup with Sherry
Crab Salad Pillar with Avocado
Diced Watermelon, Feta and Mint
Borage Blossom Garnish
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. June’s summery theme is CHILLED SOUPS.
The chilled almond & chile soup has been a favorite here for over a decade – a STAR of a cold soup that’s hot, smoky, and nutty. If fact, I entered it in a contest at the Los Angeles County Fair years ago, and it won second place. I’ve updated the soup recipe, now using sweet Spanish Marcona almonds and dry Spanish sherry. The basic soup can be simply garnished with bay shrimp or a drizzle of Mexican crema and a few cilantro leaves. Or for entertaining, go all out and build the crab pillar, your guests will be delighted.
☆ Marcona Almond & Poblano Chile Chilled Soup Recipe ☆
Char the skins of about a pound of poblano (or Hatch) chiles over an open flame. Place peppers in a large bowl and cover with a towel. Once cool, remove the skin, seeds, and membranes. Rough chop the peppers.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan, add 3 crushed garlic cloves, then add the chopped peppers. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, puree 4 oz. roasted/salted Marcona almonds with 1 c.chicken stock in a blender. (A food processor does not work as well, as the almonds need to be completely pureed). Add peppers and one more cup of chicken stock. Puree until smooth, adding more stock if necessary to get the perfect soup consistency. Add salt to taste and finish with 2 T. dry Spanish sherry. Chill.
☆ Crab Salad, Avocado with Lime, Watermelon with Feta & Mint ☆
Season mayonnaise with a small amount of Dijon mustard, a splash each of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, salt and pepper. Mix in finely chopped chives, fine dice red pepper, and chopped cilantro. Fold crab meat into the mayonnaise mixture and refrigerate until use.
Avocado with Lime
Mash a ripe avocado with the back of a fork, leaving it a bit chunky. Add a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Watermelon with Feta and Mint
Cut watermelon into a small dice. Toss gently with crumbled feta, finely chopped mint, and a bit of salt. Refrigerate until use. (Prep the avocado and watermelon at the last possible minute to ensure freshness).
☆ Assembly ☆
Oil the inside of a ring mold. Place the mold in a shallow bowl. Put a layer of the watermelon mixture in the bottom of the mold, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Then layer the crab salad, and avocado, pressing down on each layer. Finally spoon watermelon on the top of the avocado. Pour chilled soup around the mold. Slowly lift the mold up.
☆ Brother Bill’s Sense of Humor ☆
I must acknowledge my brother Bill for his input on this dish. Depending on the heat of the peppers, the chilled soup can be quite spicy. It was Bill’s terrific idea to add extra watermelon to the base of the ring mold, and to add more watermelon to the soup to create a cool balance to the heat. I’m especially fond of the little cubes of watermelon floating in the soup. Merci mon frère!
It was also his idea to introduce the crab claw…
☆ Garnish ☆
Place a few whole Marcona almonds and petite mint leaves on top of the watermelon. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped mint, finely crumbled feta, and borage blossoms. Make sure all the components of the dish are well chilled for ultimate summer enjoyment!
☆ Borage ☆
Like bright stars falling from the summer sky…with it’s electric blue color and a faintly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber, borage makes the presentation pop!
☆ 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group ☆
Inspired ideas for summer entertaining can be found in the round-up of all the fabulous chilled soups now posted here.
☆ 2012 Makeover Challenges ☆
January – MEATBALLS A Quinoa Meatball Landscape
February – BEETS Resplendent Baby Golden Beet Salad
March – JUNK FOOD Pairing 2 Fresh Fish with Corn Nuts?
April & May – RESTAURANT WARS Welcome to Ciao Fiore!
☆ Taste With The Eyes is 5 Years Old this Month! ☆
I’m thrilled to be asking 5 extraordinary blogger friends to help me celebrate this milestone anniversary with Guest Posts on Taste With The Eyes. Never realizing back then all the friends I would make, how much I would learn, and the fun to be had – I’m even more excited about this hobby today than the day I started. The theme for the anniversary is 5 Fabulous Blogger Friends in Honor of 5 Years of Blogging. Please help me welcome them in the coming weeks as they share their own unique and magical art of cuisine.
I hope Taste With The Eyes continues to inspire you just as reading your blogs and hearing your comments inspires me. I’m grateful for the knowledge, creativity, and joy this little hobby has brought into my life. It has turned into quite a passion over the past five years!
☆ Giveaway (thru JULY 6) – My Thank You Gift ☆
Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet has been a favorite of mine for many years, as it marries cooking and art, flavor and color, taste and beauty. It is authored by Claire Joyes, the wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson. I’m especially enamored with the photographs of Monet’s dining table at Giverny. I would like to GIVEAWAY a copy of Monet’s Table, shipped from amazon.com, as a token of my appreciation for your friendship and camaraderie over the past five years.
Please come help me celebrate the anniversary of Taste With the Eyes! Leave a comment on the previous post HERE now through July 6th and you’ll be entered to win.