Springtime Gazpacho Shooters. Is there Spring in the air where you are?
Well, here in Los Angeles we seemed to have zoomed right past Spring and are struggling through the dog days of Summer. Not that I am complaining. But 82 degrees F in the middle of March is a bit extreme even in Los Angeles. But I have lived here long enough to know that this is not really summer, it’s Mock Summer. The real thing is months away. We probably even have one good rainstorm in store for us before we say goodbye to our wet winter season.
But I love Mock Summer. I might even love it more than the real thing. It’s so fleeting, it feels like a precious gift. Besides, it’s too short for any really torturous heat to build up and get you down. And because Mock Summer is so brief I always try to take advantage of it when it shows its pretty face this time of year!
Nothing says Summer to me like gazpacho shooters! But really good gazpacho requires really good tomatoes. Really good Summer tomatoes. Mock Summer tomatoes are either mealy, flavorless and inedible, or they are expensive and devastating to my carbon footprint. So Mock Summer gazpacho requires some imagination when it comes to ingredients.
I decided to turn to that green tomato look-alike the tomatillo. Tomatillos are plentiful all year round in Los Angeles and we are smack dab in the middle of avocado season. So my gazpacho will have some good creamy avocados in it as well.
I think I’ll throw in some cucumber and jalapeno peppers too. But mostly I am going to keep the flavors rather simple, because I have decided to serve this gazpacho with some cold shrimp. And since it is Mock Summer I think I will also serve these shrimp cocktails shooter style. Shooter style is “code” for party! So I am calling the neighbors up and asking them to come enjoy this Mock Summer shooter poolside this evening at cocktail hour. Just a quick drink, a bit of neighborhood gossip and a couple of the Shrimp Cocktail & Tomatillo Gazpacho Shooters to celebrate the faux season! All that’s left is to reach for those new sandals I brought back from Panama, ‘cuz I think I smell a pool party !
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 clv garlic, minced
- 1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 lb tomatillos, (see notes), husks removed, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 (15 oz) can vegetable broth
- 1 t sugar
- 1/4 t sea salt
- 1 lb large shrimp (about 20 per lb) cooked and peeled
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Coarsely chop the cucumber and the avocado and place it in a food processor. Add tomatillos, bell pepper, jalapeno and the garlic. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in broth, sugar and salt. Chill before serving.
Use small shot glasses for presentation and add about 2 tablespoons of the gazpacho to each one. Hang a shrimp off the edge of each glass and serve. You will have leftover gazpacho. Save it as a treat for the cook.