Adam Watts, the chef de cuisine at Jax Fish House Boulder and the subject of this week's Chef and Tell interview, admits that his biggest menu bomb was a crudo of spearfish with smoked soba noodles, huckleberry broth and pickled ramps, a dish, he says, that "sold for shit." Luckily, the same can't be said for his cucumber-avocado gazpacho, which is one on the best-selling dishes on his current menu. It's a perfect soup to combat the sizzling heat, and while you can serve it as a starter, it also makes a great light supper.
Cucumber-avocado Gazpacho Serves: 8
3 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, rough chopped 2 avocados, skinned and pitted 1 jalapeño, seeded, rough chopped 1 basil sprig, cleaned and rough chopped 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon honey ¼ teaspoon green Tabasco 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup sour cream 2 cups water 1 tablespoon salt --- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Crème fraîche
1. Place all ingredients in a non-reactive mixing bowl and marinate overnight. 2. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree on high speed until smooth. 3. Adjust seasonings and thin with water if needed. Serve chilled.
Pickled wild gulf shrimp Makes: one quart
1 quart white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon dried dill 4 whole cloves 1 pinch whole corriander 2 bay leaves 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoon salt 1 cup water 1 pinch chile flakes 1 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
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1. Bring all ingredients to a boil; simmer for five minutes. 2. Cover 1/4 pound of shrimp with pickling liquid. 3. Once the shrimp are cooked through (just pink), place them in an ice bath to cool. 4. Drain shrimp and serve atop bowls of gazpacho. Add a drizzle of good olive oil and a swirl of crème fraîche and serve.