Crema de Aguacate
"Both hot and versions of this soup are found around the Yucatán. This recipe may be used either way. I use the cold version as an appetizer or palate cleanser in a multi-course meal and serve it warm with some crispy bacon crumbles along with some white rice as a light supper or lunch entree."Tester's note: Serve it quickly, because the small amount of lime juice isn't strong enough to keep the avocados from turning an unappetizing shade of brown for very long. Adapted from "Mayan Cuisine" (Gibbs Smith, $35, 224 pages).
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup tomato, charred then chopped
1 or 2 serrano, yellow hot, New Mexican green or jalapeño chilies or 1/2 chile habanero, well charred and seeded (tested with two jalapeños)
4 cloves garlic, toasted and peeled
2 to 3 Mexican avocado leaves, toasted and ground, or 1/4 teaspoon toasted and ground anise seed (used latter)
3-1/2 cups chicken broth (tested with vegetarian broth)
3 large ripe avocados (Hass preferred)
1/3 cup light cream or half-and-half
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegan/vegetarian: Chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips, pickled red onion, lime slices, sour cream or Mexian crema
Omnivore: Chicharrones or crumbled bacon
Sauté the onion in the oil until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the chopped tomato and fry 2 minutes more.
Add the chilies, garlic, ground avocado leaves or anise seed and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Peel, pit and coarsely chop the avocados and add to the broth with the cream and lime juice.
Pureée in a blender, adjust for salt and pepper and serve warm with your choice of garnishes, or chill to serve cold later.