Chilled Spicy Strawberry Soup
Photo courtesy of Brian Chaszar

We won’t argue that sun-kissed strawberries taste best in their natural state. But the next time we have devoured a few pints and still have nearly half a flat of berries to eat, we’re whipping up this light, delicate soup from Brooklyn’s Sea Bean Goods. The soup-delivery company’s chef, Nicole Chaszar, blends strawberries with warming spices and cooling herbs to add extra depth to a chilled soup without taking the spotlight off the star ingredient. Serve it as an unexpected starter or less traditional dessert in white bowls to contrast its deep-pink hue.

Makes 4 first-course servings

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)

1 small sweet crisp apple,
such as McIntosh, peeled and
cut into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

Cayenne pepper

1½ pounds strawberries
(about 2 pints), hulled

1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped

½ cup water

¼ cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the apple, ginger, cinnamon, salt and a pinch of cayenne. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened, about 10 minutes.

2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, combine the apple-onion mixture with the strawberries, cilantro and mint. With the motor running, add the water and puree until smooth.

3. Transfer the soup to a large metal, glass or ceramic bowl and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. (If chilling longer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and use within 3 days.)

4. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish each serving with a tablespoon of crème fraîche and a tablespoon of toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

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