Challenge continued – second course.
I had ownership of the second course of the Family Culinary Challenge on Saturday night – the entree.
My entree course had to hit a few key targets I had set in place: it had to be light (as it was forming part of a four course meal), it had to be an unusual dish but with flavours that were not unusual to the palette, it had to carry through some of the flavours appearing in Scotty’s stacked canape dish, it had to be something I had never tried before and it had to be bright and colourful.
I was flicking through a few magazines to find inspiration and stumbled across the perfect dish in the first mag – A Mexican corn soup with crushed avocado. It was just what I wanted, fulfilled the brief perfectly and as a bonus, its main ingredient just happened to be my favourite vegetable.
Never having made a soup served at room temperature before I was keen to give it a go. The best part about the whole dish was that I could make the soup during the day, make the crushed avocado fresh before serving and then piece it together in 10 minutes – I was then off the hook for the rest of the night… what bliss.
It was a very successful dish by all accounts and with four very empty dishes at the end of the course I knew I had a popular new dish to add to the repertoire.
Mexican Corn Soup with Crushed Avocado
4 yellow banana capsicum
4 long red chillies
1 garlic head, halved horizontally
90 ml olive oil
1 spanish onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
1.2 Kg corn kernals (from about 8 cobs, cobs reserved)
1 litre chicken stock
2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 avocados, coarsely chopped
120 gm cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped coriander
Preheat a grill to high. Place capsicum, chillies and garlic, cut-side up, on an oven tray, drizzle with 20ml oil. Grill until starting to blacked, turn and dizzle with 20 ml oil and grill until blackened. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins, finely chop and set aside. Peel capsicum and chilli, coarsely chop flesh, set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and celery, saute until very tender. Add spices, saute until fragrant then add corn, reserved corn cobs, and grilled garlic, capsicum and chilli, stir to combine.
Add stock and 250ml water, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until corn in tender (15 – 20 mins). Discard cobs, process mixture in food processor until smooth, then cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, cook reserved corn until tender then add to pureed soup and season to taste.
For crushed avocado, combine shallot, lime juice and garlic in a bowl, stand until shallot is tender. Add avocado, lightly crush with a fork, then stir in tomato, olive oil and coriander and season to taste. Serve dolloped into corn soup.