Chilled avocado cucumber soup with carrot panna cotta, wasabi tobiko, and wild rice cracklings recipe

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Another smashing soup, this evolved from a more standard cucumber and avocado gazpacho. It shines on its own as a simple soup without any adornment, but becomes a kaleido-scope of colors and excitement for your mouth with the elements we add here. The panna cotta is all creaminess and luxury, while the fried wild rice kernels are a chewy-crispy contribution to the texture. Wasabi-infused tobiko, or flying fish roe, pops on the tongue, especially when you give it extra snap with a light touch of fresh wasabi. If you’re feeling ambitious at all, consider adding the ginger granita described in Restaurant Embellishments. It sparkles, literally, in the dish and on the tongue.

  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For the Panna Cotta
  • Vegetable oil or olive oil spray
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) carrot juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (5 ounces) orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ¼ teaspoon agar agar, optional
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 grated lemons zest
  • 2 grated limes zest
For the Soup
  • 2 large avocados
  • 12-ounce English cucumber, peeled and chunked
  • 1 large shallot, chunked
  • 1 small rib celery, chunked
  • 3 cups (1 ½ quarts) Vegetable Stock, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ fresh jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch (2 ounces) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime juice
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Cracklings
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • 2 cups (1 pint) water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) canola or vegetable oil
  • Ground white pepper
How to Make It
    To Prepare the Panna Cotta
  1. Spray a small shallow pan, perhaps 6 or 8 inches square, with oil, and reserve.
  2. Combine the carrot juice, sugar, and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle with the gelatin and let it stand for several minutes to soften, then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in agar agar (if desired), cayenne, and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and fold in the grated lemon and lime zests.
  3. Chill mixture over an ice bath until cool, then pour into the prepared pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, until set.
  4. Before serving, cut into strips ½ x 3 inches long, or into small cubes.
  5. To Prepare the Soup
  6. Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree. Chill until needed.
  7. To Prepare the Cracklings
  8. Combine the rice, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes.
  9. Drain the rice and let it dry on a clean dishtowel or paper towels. Warm the oil in a small saucepan to 375°F. With a spider, dunk the rice in the oil to fry 10 to 15 seconds, until crispy, then drain on paper towels. Season with pepper and, if you wish, a bit more salt.
  10. To Prepare the Tobiko
  11. Gently combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
  12. Putting it all together
  13. Arrange 4 soup plates or broad soup bowls on a work surface. Make a pretty pattern of garnishes in each bowl. Arrange a strip of panna cotta off center in each bowl. Drizzle each panna cotta serving with tobiko. Sprinkle wild rice around the inside of the bowls and then scatter with leaves or blossoms. Pour the chilled soup into a pitcher.
  14. Set a bowl in front of each diner. Pour equal portions of the soup into each bowl, pooling it around the garnishes until most are submerged. Eat right away.
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