Avocado Soup

Zion Barnes

40 minutes + 3 hours refrigeration

Served 3-5 (as a starter)

Photo by Sivan Roshianu

This summer soup, a play on gazpacho, is inspired by the 1948 book “I Cook: The Israeli Cookbook (Practical Tips for the Young Housekeeper)” by Lilian Kornfeld. The introduction to the original recipe explains: “Avocado soup, popular among the Chileans, has also gained popularity in Israel, especially with the cultivation of avocado groves.” Chef Zion Barnes from Tel Aviv’s hit restaurant Ha’achim took the recipe one step further, and turned it into riff on green gazpacho, adding cilantro, mint, tortilla chips (a kosher-for-Passover alternative to croutons), harissa oil and sour cream. This is going to be 2022’s summer hit. For a vegan soup, serve without the sour cream.

This dish is part of a collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes inspired by early Israeli cookbooks from just after the founding of the state. Check out the full collection here and read more about one of the cookbooks, “Sefer Bishul,” here

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into large cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 liter (1qt) vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon baharat spice mix
  • ¼ hot chili pepper, seeds removed and coarsely chopped 
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 3 Hass avocados, ripe and soft
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (including stalks), coarsely chopped 
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Oil, for brushing and deep frying
  • To serve:
  • Corn tortilla chips (or pita)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons harissa

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and herbs, season with a little salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook until the zucchini softens, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for at least 2 hours.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the chili pepper, mint leaves, avocado, cilantro, lemon juice and vinegar, and pulse to a smooth velvety soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. The soup is best chilled for another hour, or served with ice cubes.
  4. To toast the pita: Brush the pita with oil and bake in an oven preheated to 170°C/325°F until crispy, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can deep fry it in oil. Cool and crumble.
  5. To serve: Pour the soup into individual bowls, drizzle sour cream and harissa on top and sprinkle with tortilla chips (or crumbled pita).

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