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chilled strawberry soup

I became intrigued by the idea of 'fruit soup' a few summers ago when my dear friend Amy, fellow Evanstonian and besotted Francophile, served a fruit gazpacho at an al fresco dinner. It was delicious and a concept I could totally get behind. I love to experiment with fruit in soup recipes like carrot and pear with ginger, and curried apple sweet potato. The addition of fruit to vegetable soups adds a hint of sweetness and adds a lovely complexity to the flavor. It wasn't until a couple of years later, when Bri and I visited Amy in Paris, where she was living with her family for a year (a dream of hers come true), that I discovered the simple ambrosia that is fruit soup. This recipe is inspired by a dessert we enjoyed at Arnaud Nicolas on Avenue de la Bourdonnais just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower our first night in Paris: strawberry soup with sour cream ice cream. Check out the recipe for our sour cream ice cream version sweet tart ice cream.


Chilled Strawberry Soup


Ingredients:

2 pints of fresh strawberries, hulled

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 c fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons clover honey (any mild honey will work or substitute 2 tbsp sugar in a pinch)

1/4 c fresh mint, additional leaves for garnish


Preparation:

Separate out a handful of strawberries and mint leaves for garnish.

Purée the remaining ingredients in a blender.

Add additional sugar or honey if you'd like it a bit sweeter.

Blend until smooth.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


While waiting for the soup to cool, slice the remaining strawberries and reserve for garnish. If the berries are not at their sweetest you can toss them with a bit of sugar and set aside.


Once the soup is chilled, ladle desired amount into small bowls and garnish with the chopped strawberries and mint leaves. This dessert is excellent on its own or with a small scoop of sweet tart ice cream.


Notes:

This dessert is best when strawberries are at peak season. The sweeter the berries the less sugar or honey you need to add. You can also serve this dessert as more of a concassé (typically used in preparing tomatoes but can also work well with other soft fleshed vegetables and fruit) where the strawberries are roughly chopped instead of puréed. You can so this by hand or using a food processor.

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