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Mango Gazpacho Topped with Crab and Avocado

Mary Anne here. This summertime sauna doesn’t appear to be wafting away from the Northeast anytime soon…and slaving over a hot stove has never been so unappealing. I’ve been subsisting on a steady diet of ice cubes and frozen sorbet, but sadly, while my over-heated brain craves cold empty calories, my body tells me it’s time for something more substantial. So last week I began pondering Gazpacho…its healthful veggies, its simple prep, AND best of all, its chilly temp — seems like a no-brainer, right?

Wrong. I’ve never once tasted a Gazpacho that I liked. Same goes for Vichyssoise. But I really wanted cold soup and I was afraid I might develop scurvy if I didn’t get more vitamin C than what’s packed in a pint of sorbet. Suddenly it hit me – or actually Mariel’s sweet, juicy Watermelon Bites bit me. Mangoes! I adore all things mango, so why not swap out the acidic tomatoes in traditional Gazpacho for this sweet fruit with its salsa-like splash. Bonus – lump crab meat had been on sale at my local grocer’s…you’re catching my drift.

This soup is a spectacular explosion of vibrant color and taste with a variety of textures including crispy crunchy cucumber to velvety melt-in-your-mouth avocado. Given the complexity of the flavorful soup base, the Gazpacho absolutely must be made the day before to allow the flavors to mellow. The crab salad was made at the last-minute and has a very delicate, rice vinegar based dressing. Serve this as a first course for an elegant dinner party, or as an entrée under the shade of your veranda. If you’re a vegetarian or simply feeding a few, the soup stands alone quite nicely. Either way it is certain to become a go-to recipe when there is just too much heat in summer’s kitchen.

And as an aside, I looked up “Gazpacho” in the dictionary. My oldest son had suggested that the word literally translates to the traditional tomato based soup. Not so. The name Gazpacho represents any cold, vegetable soup.

Mango Gazpacho Topped with Crab and Avocado
Serves 6 as an Entrée or 8 to 10 as a First Course

Note: You will need either a food processor or a blender.

For the Gazpacho:
2 large, ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped – $2.50
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced – $0.25
1 large stalk celery, chopped – stock
1 Granny Smith (or tart) apple, peeled, seeded, and chopped – $0.42
1/3 cup jalapeno peppers, diced (about 2 peppers) – $0.40
2/3 cup fresh orange juice – stock
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice – stock
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice – stock
1 Tablespoon plain rice vinegar – Asian stock
½ sweet red pepper, chopped – $0.69
¼ Teaspoon ground cumin – stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt – stock
1 medium cucumber – peeled, seeded, and set aside chopped – $0.66
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped and set aside for garnish – $0.99

For the Crab and Avocado Salad:
1 lb. lump crab meat, picked over for shells – $10.99
½ sweet red bell pepper, diced – $0.68
2 scallions, chopped fine – $0.24
1 small jalapeno, minced – $0.20
½ cup corn, blanched for 1 minute in boiling water, and then refreshed in cold water – $0.30
¼ cup cilantro, chopped – included in Gazpacho ingredients
1 large avocado, sliced and set aside – $1.00

For the crab dressing, whisk together:
1 Teaspoon plain rice vinegar – Asian stock
4 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
¼ Teaspoon salt – stock
pepper to taste – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $19.32
Total Per Entrée Serving: $3.22

1. Prepare the Gazpacho by pureeing the first 12 ingredients. Whether using a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender, you will need to do this in several batches.

2. Stir in the chopped cucumber and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day prepare the crab salad. Combine all of the ingredients, except the avocado. Drizzle the mixture with the dressing and toss well to combine.

4. Divide the soup into equal amounts, whether serving as a first course or the main event. Using your hands, shape the crab mixture into balls equal in size. Place the crab in the center of the soup. Divide the avocado slices equally and arrange alongside the crab salad. Garnish with the reserved cilantro.