Soup or salad? With tomatillos and avocados, who cares?

This soup is really a salad dressing that never made it to the greens!

I don’t know if you’ve ever made something you liked so much, you started eating it right out of the mixing bowl, even before you finished preparing it.

That’s what happened when I made this tomatillo avocado salsa salad dressing. Yes, I know, this is a soup blog. However, I think this dressing is so healthy and scrumptious that it makes a great chilled summer soup.

In other words, it never made the journey from the food processor bowl to the salad greens!

The secret is the tomatillos. A distant relative of the tomato and often referred to as tomate verde or green tomato, they are a staple in Mexican cuisine. I had never really used them before because the paper-like husks intimidated me for some reason.

However, a class at Flavour Cooking School in Forest Park showed me peeling a tomatillo couldn’t be easier. Simply remove the top, papery layer and chop the fruit into quarters before adding it to the food processor. The tomatillos are slightly sticky to the touch, and the flavor is sort of lemony, herbal and tangy all at the same time. Paired with the avocados, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice, the result is sort of cross between gazpacho and guacamole.

Not that it needs embellishment, but you could crumble a little queso fresco, a firm-textured white cheese also used in Mexican recipes, and/or tortilla chips on top, as garnish.

Of course, you can always use this recipe as it was intended – as a salad dressing. With no added oil other than the avocado, this is off-the-charts in terms of healthy.  Any kind of lettuce and vegetable combination will work. The one we made in the cooking class included frisee, baby arugula, cherry tomatoes and julienned roasted red pepper.

Soup or salad? It’s all a matter of how much willpower you have.

 Tomatillo Avocado Salsa Soup (and salad dressing)

¼ to ½- jalapeno pepper, seeded

1 clove garlic

1/3 cup cilantro leaves

3 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 pound tomatillos, husked and quartered (approximately 6-8 tomatillos)

3 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 avocados, flesh removed

½ small white onion, peeled

¼ teaspoon cumin

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Turn food processor on. Drop jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and scallions through feed tube of food processor while machine is running. Process ingredients until minced. Add tomatillos and lime juice. Process until mixture is liquid. Add avocado, onion, cumin and salt and pepper. Let stand 30 to 60 minutes to blend flavors. Taste and adjust.

Serves 4-6 as soup or use as salad dressing.

 From Flavour Cooking School, Forest Park, Illinois








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