Recently my ukulele friends and I ate at Technique, the resturant of Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Downtown Pittsburgh. The experience was truly memorable—the food was delicious and service was excellent. The ambiance was dream-like: soft colors, white tablecloths, white napkins, and white china. Gentle music served as the accompaniment to soft melodic conversations. Each course was beautifully presented. The wait staff was very professional, courteous, and attentive. Sorbet was served to cleanse our palate between courses. A three course lunch of appetizer, main course, and dessert was ten dollars with no tipping! My friends and I left Technique with the impression that this was the new standard for fine dining.
A few of us in the group ordered avocado soup as our appetizer. As soon as a spoonful of this soup touched our lips, we knew we wanted the recipe. It was refreshing and light, yet full-bodied. It’s savoriness was actually sweet from all the inherent flavor of each vegetable. It was crunchy, yet smooth at the same time. We asked for the recipe but was only given a list of ingredients—no proportions. Each of us looked at the list and remarked, “The secret ingredient is missing. There’s more to this soup.”
After making this soup about four times, I was able to figure out the secret ingredient!
1. two organic Haas Avocados
2. one organic cucumber
3. one half cup of plain yogurt (fat-free or whole )
4. one and a half cups of range-free chicken stock (ingredient list called for vegetable stock)
5. four Tablespoons fresh dill
6. two cloves garlic, chopped
7. salt (Celtic Salt or your preference)
8. black pepper
9. five shrimp (or your choice of protein) per person (wild caught)
1. Shell, de-vein, wash, and dry the shrimp. Boil one half cup of filtered water. Add shrimp. Cook until pink. Reserve the liquid. Save the shells for soup stock or when you use pre-cooked shrimp. This liquid is the secret ingredient!
2. Dice one half cucumber.Remove seeds if they look too mature (hard to chew). Divide evenly and place the pieces in each soup bowl.
3. Cut the other half of cucumber and place in the blender/food processor.
4. Cut avocados in half, remove seed, slice into cubes and place in blender/ food processor.
5. Add one half cup of yogurt
6. Add one and a half cup of chicken broth (vegetable stock)
7. Add two Tablespoons of fresh dill.
8. Add two cloves of garlic, chop.
9. Blend until liquid.
10. Add reserved liquid (from shrimp)
11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
13. Pour into soup bowls over cucumber pieces.
14. Garnish with shrimp.
Suggestions and Recommendations:
1. The ingredient list originally listed vegetable broth. I used range -free chicken broth, because I only had chicken broth on hand. Many store bought vegetable broths have tomatoes as an ingredient. The avocado soup did not have a tomato taste. Perhaps a homemade vegetable broth without tomatoes can be used.
2. Other proteins can be used, such as chicken, fish, beef, etc. Remember to reserve the juices as your secret ingredient!
3. Vegans may want to use seitan or a marinated tofu. If seitan is used, the liquid would be perfect as the secret ingredient, but make sure you’re not allergic to wheat or have a gluten sensitivity. Seitan is wheat gluten!
4. You may want to chill the soup, but I served it at room temperature—right out of the blender.