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Best Chef/ Pacific James Beard Award Winner:Healdsburg, CA

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Spicy Glazed Shrimp
Recipe by Douglas Keane

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Spicy Glazed Shrimp Food Recipes© Quentin Bacon

Keane is such a fan of chilled soups that he puts at least one on his menu every season including winter. The combination of cucumber and red wine vinegar in this recipe reminds him of the wonderful Greek salads he had growing up outside of Detroit, Michigan, home to a huge Greek community.

Pairing Suggestion

This luscious soup needs a full-bodied white, but one that has good acidity, too. Sonoma's cool morning fogs help Chardonnay keep its edge, as in the 2004 Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay, with its spicy pear-apple notes, or the leesy, pear-inflected 2003 Iron Horse Corral Vineyard.


1. 1 large European cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
2. 2 Hass avocados—pitted, peeled and quartered
3. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5. 1 teaspoon sugar
6. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
7. Kosher salt
8. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
9. 3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
10. 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
11. 1 shallot, thinly sliced
12. 1 small carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
13. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
14. 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
15. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
16. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
17. 1 teaspoon tomato paste
18. 2 cups water
19. 1 tablespoon honey
20. Freshly ground pepper
21. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
22. 6 mint leaves, chopped


1. In a blender, combine the cucumber, avocados, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shrimp shells, garlic, shallot and carrot and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the shells are lightly browned, and the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the peppercorns, coriander seeds, crushed red pepper and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water, honey and remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Strain the shrimp sauce into a heatproof bowl.
3. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp, add the shrimp sauce and simmer just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter.
4. Place the shrimp in soup bowls, spoon the cucumber soup all around and drizzle the shrimp sauce on top. Sprinkle with the mint and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The cucumber soup and shrimp sauce can be refrigerated overnight separately. Reheat the shrimp sauce gently before using.


If you are short on time, the cucumber-avocado soup is delicious on its own. Just follow the recipe through step 1, then serve with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped mint.

Relate Links: Seafood Recipes - USA, Seafood Recipes - UK, Seafood Recipes - Canada
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