Scarlet Soup with Shrimp Salsa
This recipe is based on one in the very last issue of Gourmet (sniff…a moment of silence please). The color of the soup is just stunningly vivid and I thought it would make a beautiful soup for a Valentines Day. I topped it with a shrimp salsa and the flavors married perfectly. The original recipe called for deep frying carrot curls and then dusting them with coriander and topping the soup with them. You could replace the shrimp with the curls if you want to make this vegetarian. The thing that amazes me about it is that it is made with carrots and beets, but taste like neither. It has an earthy, subtle sweetness. I served it with a dry 2008 Alexander Valley rose by Kelly and Young.
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and cooled
2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, sliced thin (about one cup
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 lb carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 lb trimmed beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 lb shrimp, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped fine
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cilantro, minced
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Grind coriander and cumin in grinder. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook onions with bay leaves and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.
2. Add carrots, beets, 2 teaspoons coriander and 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
3. While soup simmers, heat a skillet and add oil. Saute the red pepper until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and firm. Remove to a bowl and mix in lime, avocado, cilantro, and sea salt.
4. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return soup to pot.
5. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and additional water if needed to thin soup.