Cucumber and Avocado Soup, Chilled, with Spicy Glazed Shrimp

adapted from Food and Wine

1 large European cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and quartered

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice, divided

Kosher salt

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 shallot thinly sliced

3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled (keep the shells)

1 small carrot, thinly sliced in coins

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp tomato paste

2 cups water

1 Tbsp honey

Fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 mint leaves, chopped

Combine the cucumber, avocados, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon of lime juice and a pinch of salt in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Strain the soup through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the shrimp shells, garlic, shallot and carrot and cook over moderate heat and stir until the shells are lightly browned and the vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes.  

Add the peppercorns, coriander seeds, crushed red pepper and cumin seeds ad cook for a minutes, stirring.  Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for another minute.  Add the water, honey and remaining tablespoon of lime juice and bring to a boil.  Simmer the mixture over moderate heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Strain the shrimp sauce into a heatproof bowl.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet and until shimmering.  Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper.  Cook over high heat 1 minute.  Turn the shrimp add the shrimp sauce and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the butter.

Place three shrimp in each soup bowl.  Spoon the cucumber soup around the shrimp and drizzle with the shrimp sauce.  Sprinkle mint leaves and serve.