The crabmeat topping elevates this dish to a special-occasion meal. Do not prepare it more than an hour in advance, as the avocado will oxidize. As a variation, chef Joshua Linton likes to add about 2 tablespoons of chipotle puree: "This gives the soup an amazing smoky depth," he says.
*Notes: Dried avocado leaves are available in Latin American and Caribbean groceries. Crema Mexicana is available in many supermarkets. Peekytoe crab may be special-ordered at BlackSalt fish market in Palisades or Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown.
- For the soup
- 3 avocados, flesh coarsely chopped
- 1/2 serrano chili pepper, chopped
- 1 dried avocado leaf (optional)*
- 1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 3 1/4 cups water
- 6 tablespoons crema Mexicana or creme fraiche, plus extra for garnish*
- 1 1/2 (about 4 tablespoons) limes (juice only), or more to taste
- Sea salt
- For the Escabeche of Peekytoe Crab
- 6 ounces peekytoe crabmeat,* shell fragments and cartilage removed (may substitute any lump crabmeat)
- 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon cilantro, cut in very fine shreds
- Sea salt
- Lime juice
For the soup: In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, serrano chili pepper, avocado leaf if using, cilantro, water, crema or creme fraiche and puree until silky smooth. Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate.
For the Escabeche of Peekytoe Crab: In a medium bowl, gently combine the crab, red onion and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.
To assemble, adjust the seasonings of the soup to taste with salt and lime juice. To serve, divide the soup among chilled bowls. Place equal amounts of the crab mixture in the center of each one. Drizzle extra crema on the soup and garnish each bowl with cilantro.
Adapted from chef Joshua Linton of Oyamel restaurant.
Tested by Michael Taylor.
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