Gazpacho has never been a favorite of mine. I think it is essentially the same as eating a big bowl of salsa with a spoon. Don’t get me wrong – a good, spicy salsa is delightful with tortilla chips and queso. But on its own, masquerading around like a soup? Nope.
So I was intrigued by an avocado and corn gazpacho recipe I saw recently from Zia Diner in Santa Fe. I would try pretty much any food that hails from Santa Fe (one of my favorite places to visit, by the way – go if you ever have half an opportunity). I am also constantly seeking ways to incorporate avocado into everything. So, I had to try the recipe. I made it as-is, and I thought it was quite good. Naturally, I had to change a few things.
Gazpacho is perfect as an appetizer for a dinner party. It is best when made the day before – the heat and flavor really intensifies from the grilled jalapeno – and it is served chilled. If you host parties often, you know that this is code for “this recipe will save you from panicking right before guests arrive.” I served the gazpacho as a plated appetizer in small dessert cups with extra grilled corn sliced off the cob as a garnish:
Don’t skip the grilling phase. Sure, you can make this with raw vegetables, but I think the biggest flavor improvement over the original really comes from the intensity that a little fire adds to corn, jalapeno, zucchini, and most everything else. Also, ripe avocados are best, but if you’re in a pinch, a firm, green avocado will still add that creamy, buttery flavor that makes avocado the very best thing on this earth (second only to Mops). She’s so cute.
The gazpacho is very good, but I don’t think it is the type of recipe most people would want a whole bowl of as a meal. It needs to be paired with something else and served in a smaller quantity for maximum impact. A salad, a grilled steak (that’s how we enjoyed it at my dinner party), or a sandwich would round out the meal. And, if that doesn’t pan out, I suggest that you pair with chardonnay and call it a meal.
Avocado and Grilled Corn Gazpacho
Serves six to eight
You will need:
- 2 zucchini
- 4 ears fresh corn
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 or 2 jalapeños
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 large tomato (a beefsteak or Roma tomato, or a few cherry tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon each paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Brush zucchini, corn, bell pepper, and jalapeno with 1 tablespoon olive oil (and a dash of spices, if you like) and grill until slightly charred. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, reserve one corn cob as a garnish. Slice grilled corn from cob and set in a large bowl. Coarsely chop grilled zucchini, bell pepper, and jalapeno, removing seeds. Chop tomato and add to bowl.
- Sautee onion and garlic until fragrant, then remove from heat.
- Halve and pit avocados. Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, pulse until smooth. Add onion and garlic, and blend together with broth, half-and-half, the bowl of vegetables, cilantro. lime juice, and spices.
- Adjust spices to taste, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When serving, garnish with reserved corn, slices of avocado, cilantro, or a dollop of cream.