Green Vegetable Gazpacho with Tiger Shrimp and Pickled Red Onions
This fragrant, refreshing summertime soup offers an appetizing mix of colors in your bowl. Copper-toned, striped tiger shrimp are topped with pink pickled onions, all neatly framed by a green-hued gazpacho filled with fresh vegetable flavors. Tomatillos, or Mexican green tomatoes, are easy to find in most supermarkets today, and add a savory but bright, melonlike quality to dishes. Peel away their papery husks, if still present (some stores remove them for you), and use warm water when rinsing to help dissolve the sticky film on the skins.
Using hothouse cucumbers spares you the trouble of peeling and seeding, and the dark green skins add to the eye-catching appeal of the gazpacho. Consider setting knives alongside the spoons for this cold soup, as the large, meaty shrimp are more easily eaten when cut into bite-size morsels.
Serve with a chilled sparkling wine or dry rosé.
For the gazpacho:
4 medium ripe tomatoes
6 cups/1.4 l Vegetable Stock (page XX) or canned low-sodium vegetable broth
1 English/hothouse cucumber, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
1 green bell pepper/capsicum, seeded and diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced (about 1 cup/140 g)
1/2 cup/55 g diced red onion
4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and diced
1/2 cup/15 g coarsely chopped fresh cilantro/fresh coriander
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pickled onions:
1 cup/240 ml seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup/50 g sugar
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 pod star anise
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-in/6-mm rings
For the shrimp:
2 cups/480 ml dry white wine
3 tsp salt
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium leek, white part only, quartered and rinsed and drained thoroughly
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-in/5-cm pieces
18 tiger shrimp/prawns or other large shrimp, peeled and deveined
To make the gazpacho: In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes and 2 cups/480 ml of the stock and process to a smooth purée. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a large, nonreactive bowl. (Wait a few minutes to allow all the liquid to drain out.) Reserve this “tomato water” and discard the solids.
In the blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary, combine the cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, red onion, tomatillos, cilantro/coriander, avocados, garlic, lime juice, and the remaining 4 cups/960 ml stock. Process to a coarse purée; the finished soup should contain small bits of crunchy fennel and cucumber. Transfer to a large bowl, add the reserved tomato water, and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
To make the pickled onions: In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl or glass measuring jar. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan. Return to a simmer and add the onions, stirring them in the hot liquid for 1 minute. Remove the onions with tongs or drain in a colander. Discard the liquid. Put the onions in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the shrimp/prawns: In a large pot, combine the wine, salt, onion, leek, carrot, and 8 cups/2 l water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large, heatproof bowl or another pot. Discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pot and bring to a simmer again. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Place the shrimp in the simmering liquid and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Drain the shrimp in a colander or remove them from the hot liquid with a slotted spoon. Immediately plunge the shrimp in the ice water bath and let cool for about 5 minutes, adding more ice if needed to keep the bath cold. Discard the cooking liquid. Once the shrimp are cool, remove and discard the shrimp tail fins.
To assemble the soup: Place 3 shrimp in each of 6 chilled bowls, with their curved shapes interlocked in what resembles a “shrimp chain.” Ladle the chilled gazpacho around the shrimp, but don’t fill the bowls too high—you want to leave the tops of the shrimp exposed and emerging from the soup. Garnish the shrimp with a small mound of pickled red onions. Serve at once.
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