[RECIPE]<br />
Gazpacho with Seafood-Avocado Garnish

Gazpacho with Seafood-Avocado Garnish

As we head toward the end of the 'dog days of summer,' it's still too hot in many parts of the country to do much slaving over the stove. So what do you make on these days when just the thought of turning on the oven makes you sweat?

I suggest Gazpacho: a chilled, tomato-based, raw vegetable soup. Some people shy away from gazpacho because it's a cold soup (kind of an oxymoron), but on a hot day you really couldn't have anything healthier or more refreshing. Plus I created a beautiful seafood-avocado garnish that is sure to lure in the pickiest eaters. Oh and did I mentioned this requires no cooking, is gluten free, and, minus the garnish, is vegan?  The only thing that stands between you and this delicious soup is A LOT of chopping...but it's well worth it!

Ingredients: (Makes About 6 servings)

  • 7 plum tomatoes (seeds removed)
  • 1 green pepper (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 ribs celery (wipe off any dirt with a damp cloth)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 3 ½ cups Low Sodium V8
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley
  • Seafood-Avocado Garnish (recipe below)

Directions:

FINELY dice the first 5 ingredients and put them into a large bowl or pot. Next using a micro plane, grate the garlic on top of the vegetables (finely chopped garlic is fine too) and add the V8. Then add the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, limejuice, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.  Stir to combine and chill the soup in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours (the longer it sits, the better). Right before serving, stir the fresh chopped parsley into the soup and serve in chilled bowls or cups.  Finally, top each cup or bowl with a few spoonfuls of the seafood-avocado garnish.

Seafood-Avocado Garnish

Ingredients (Makes About 2 Cups):

  • ½ cup cooked shrimp (roughly chopped)
  • ½ cup lump crabmeat (picked over)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. 2 limes, divided)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. minced canned chipotles in adobo, including sauce, or 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado

Directions:

In a bowl, add the first 5 ingredients, a pinch of salt and gently stir to combine.  Allow this mixture to chill and marinate for at least 20 minutes or even overnight.  Then, right before you are ready to serve, cut the avocado in half and remove the seed.  Scoop the flesh of the avocado out of it’s skin and chop into small pieces.  Toss the avocado with the remaining limejuice and then gently fold it into the seafood mixture.  Check the seasoning here, and add a little more salt if necessary.  To serve, scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of the seafood mixture over each serving of gazpacho. 

This mixture can also be served with tortilla chips or served in chilled martini glasses for a refreshing shrimp and crab cocktail.

April Wardlaw is a self-taught cook who caters and bakes part-time.  You can find more of her recipes on her blog: www.aprilscookin.blogspot.com