avocado gazpacho with spicy croutons

Serves:
4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes + 1 hour chilling time    |   
Cook Time:
15 minutes

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A request came in from a friend’s friend in Alabama for a cool soup. Perhaps in this age of climate change we’ll all need one, so here’s my favorite. If you want to serve this as a light main dinner, see the suggestions at the end of the recipe.

ingredients

spicy croutons
1/2 loaf (8 ounces) crusty bread
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons ground chile (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground pepper

soup
2 cucumbers
Juice of 2 limes
1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped, or
2 tablespoons canned diced green chiles
2 green onions, sliced
2 large ripe avocados

directions

To make croutons, preheat your oven to 450°F. Cut the bread into small cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Bake until just golden, about 10 minutes. Melt butter and stir in chile powder, salt, cumin, and pepper to taste. Pour over bread cubes and toss to coat. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes more. Let cool, then store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

To make gazpacho base, peel and dice one of the cucumbers. Put it in a blender with the lime juice, broth, cilantro, chile, green onions, and a pinch of salt. Dice one of the avocadoes and add it to the blender, then puree. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day.

To serve, finely dice the other cucumber and avocado and stir them into the gazpacho base. Divide soup among bowls and sprinkle each with spicy croutons.

note: look for ground dried chile, such as ancho or New Mexico, as opposed to a chili powder, which is a spice mix. If that’s too much hassle, just go with chili powder or even paprika.