Submitted by: Richard Hammond
Servings: Serves 4 as an Appetizer
Ingredients: 8 lbs. ripe plum tomatoes, washed, cored and seeded
1 organic celery heart, washed
1 large seedless cucumber, washed
1 head of garlic
1 each; red, yellow, orange & green bell pepper
1 large sweet onion
4 oz. blanched slivered almonds
¼ cup Pimentón (smoked paprika)
2 tsp whole cumin seed + 1 tsp. whole allspice
1 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat
2 firm-ripe Haas avocadoes
1 large bunch cilantro
2 large limes
2/3 cup EV olive oil + cold-pressed almond oil
Sea salt to taste + coarse sea salt
Instructions: THE DAY BEFORE (making the cold tomato soup):
Pre-heat the oven to 250° F.
Break apart the garlic head, smash the cloves and peel them. Give the garlic a rough chop, sprinkle them with a teaspoon or so of sea salt and let them sit on the cutting board for 15 to 20 minutes.
Wash the almonds under warm water in a strainer basket, shake off the excess water and place them on a small baking sheet. Roast them on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes and transfer the nuts to a food processor.
Add about a teaspoon of coarse sea salt; the smoked paprika and process on high speed until the almonds are very finely chopped, stopping the blades in between to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add about one tablespoon of almond oil to the processor and blend on high speed until the almonds have formed a smooth paste, scraping down the sides again as needed.
Chop the garlic some more and then use the back of your knife to rub the garlic into the cutting board turning it into a paste. Scrape the garlic paste into the food processor and pulse to mix.
Dice the bell pepper, cucumber and celery into a large covered container. Dice a little less than half of the tomatoes and add them to this container also. Dice and wash the onion in cold water about three times, breaking up the onion layers with your fingers. Rinse and drain the de-flamed onions, dry them in a salad spinner and add them to the container of vegetables.
Give the rest of the tomatoes a rough chop, add them to the processor and purée this mixture completely. Add the tomato purée to the other vegetables, check the seasoning and adjust with more salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate the soup.
THE NEXT DAY (a couple hours before the party):
Chill four very large broad bowls a couple hours before service. Squeeze the two limes into a covered bowl and reserve in the ‘fridge. Pour the olive oil into a Pyrex measuring cup and thoroughly wash the cilantro and dry it in a salad spinner. Lay the cilantro on kitchen towels.
Toast the cumin seed and allspice in a dry skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, shaking the pan often to avoid burning the seeds. Cool the roasted spices and transfer them to an electric coffee grinder with a ½ tsp of coarse salt and the Mex oregano. Grind the spices to a powder.
Pick over the crabmeat and place in a medium covered container. Take a couple tablespoons of the olive oil and place in a medium glass bowl, whisk in a couple teaspoons of reserved limejuice with the cooled spice rub (adobo) to form a dressing. Pour this over the crabmeat, cover and refrigerate for up to an hour or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Add the cleaned cilantro to a blender, stems and all and cover with the remaining olive oil. Blend into cilantro pesto which you will use to garnish the soup. Do this shortly before service and use all of the pesto with the soup as this preparation does not keep well.
Right before serving, split, pit and dice the avocadoes, folding them into the crabmeat salad. Divide the crabmeat into four equal servings, mounding the salad into the center of each bowl. Stir the remaining limejuice into the soup, check the seasoning one more time and ladle the chilled soup all around the crabmeat “island”. Use a long spoon to drizzle streaks of cilantro pesto throughout the soup.
Wipe the edge of each soup bowl with a damp paper towel to clean up any spills and dampen the edge. Use a shaker to sprinkle some extra pimentón around the rim of each soup bowl.
Serve immediately and if desired, pass a small bowl of crushed chile piquin (very hot) with a small spoon for each guest to sprinkle over their appetizer.