Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gazpacho with a Beetroot & Lime Twist!

One of my favorite dishes the night I catered for a French Exhibition in the Sth of France (April 2010) was a new twist I was playing on the classic chilled Spanish soup - Gazpacho - . Caspar’s mum made me my first chilled Gazpacho soup. Hesitant at first but wanting to be polite, I sipped the thick cool soup with a slightly forced smile on my face. There were so many familiar and wonderful flavors in that first sip that I instantly
liked what I was experiencing. The sweet rich flavors of the tomatoes, the sour taste of vinegar, the pungent bite of the garlic, the spicy tang of Tabasco sauce and the salty flavours all mingled. I’d never really been exposed to anything like it before but I really enjoyed it (Maggie is a wonderful cook). This eventually opened me up to exploring raw (not cooked) soups in general but that’s another blog at another time.

I made 50 little Chilled Beetroot & Lime Gazpacho Soup Shots with a wild asparagus swivel stick and a sprig of feathery fennel in each. It is a brilliant yet simple soup that is so jam packed full of vitamins but also taste delicious. The magenta colour is pretty impressive too. When tried it out on the French at this Gallery opening in these little shot glasses they loved it, “Magnifique!” they sang. It is a lovely starter for a dinner party or a quick but nutritious lunch that will  put a sparkle in your step.

Beetroot and Lime Gazpacho     Makes approx = 750ml (approx 4 shallow soup bowls)

1 cup beetroot, grated
1 medium lebanese cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove
2 tbs capers
½ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp himalayan salt (level)
a splash of tabasco
black pepper, a few turns of your pepper mill
1 cup filtered water

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whiz up until you get a smooth and velvety texture. This soup is best prepared and served freshly blended. I'll often place all the ingredients into a blender, prepare other aspects of the meal and leave it there until I'm ready to serve. Then simple blend until silky smooth and serve immediately!


That night I used the wild asparagus spears, very lightly blanched (30 seconds) them to bring out their beautiful green color and some of the wild feathery fennel tips.
I placed the spear of the asparagus in the shot glass like a little swivel stick (make it long enough so that the pretty spear sticks just above the rim of the shot glass) and tucked a spring of the feathery fennel beside it. The greens against the magenta beetroot looked stunning!

Or you can simply have an avocado garnish. See below.

Avocado, very finely diced (with a squeeze of lemon/lime to prevent browning)
Coriander, whole petals of the herb torn apart into each petal – arrange attractively in the centre of the shot glass or little soup bowl.

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