Thursday, July 10, 2008

19. Mango-Spacho (p. 90)

With the nation still in the grip of tomato terror, I've been deprived of one of my favorite summertime meals: Gazpacho. So, I was thrilled to see this tomato-free version while flipping through The Book. We ate this on Sunday, and of course, as luck would have it, the news on Monday morning reported that two of the other ingredients in this dish have been added to the salmonella watchlist: chiles and cilantro. Oh well, we somehow managed to avoid any problems despite the high-risk ingredients.

The ingredient list is long (see the photo of my mise below), but the preparation is a snap. Just throw it all in a bowl and chill.

This recipe changes up your typical gazpacho by replacing the tomatoes and tomato juice with mango and mango nectar. The other usual ingredients are all there, like cucumber, scallions and garlic, along with a couple of nice additions like fresh corn and roasted red peppers. The Book calls for half of a jalepeno and half of a serrano. But, I used the one and only serrano that Stop and Shop had in the Charred Tomatillo Guacamole. The jalepeno gave just the right amount of heat on its own, though.

The result is an excellent, refreshing summer soup. Very delicious, and I liked it a lot. The texture has a nice contrast of the silky mango and the crisp cucumber and corn. The sweetness of the mango is balanced by the acid of the citrus juice and the bite of the jalepeno. This is a sweeter soup, but it's not too fruity or at all desserty. We made this as a light dinner, but I was a little dissapointed because it just wasn't quite substantial enough. It would have been great as a first course before grilled chicken or fish, but on its own, it left me a little unsatisfied. I should have known better, though, because as Kenny Bania said in the classic Seinfeld episode, "Soup's not a meal."

Finally, if I were to make this agian, I'd probably double the recipe. As I mentioned above, there's a long list of ingredients, and the recipe only calls for a little of everything (half of a jalepeno, less than half of a can of mango nectar, a small amount of roasted red peppers). If I'm going to go through the trouble of preparing all of these ingredients, I might as well make a big batch and have some leftovers to take for luch during the week.

Date Cooked: July 5, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A-

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