Champagne gazpacho with butternut puree

A super soup: The Magnetic Field in the RAD serves their soup garnished with a crouton spread with truffled blue cheese along with diced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. You may get as fancy as you’d like. Photo by Jonathan Welch

Like your soup a little boozy? The Magnetic Field in the River Arts District has a recipe for you. From the gin-spiked gazpacho the restaurant recently served as a brunch offering, to this Champagne-infused version, chef Liam Luttrell-Rowland makes daytime dishes that would make a teetotaler blush. The addition of the butternut puree in the recipe below means that a little baking has to happen, but if you choose to skip the squash, that’s your prerogative. Whichever way you slice it, the end result is either a cooling appetizer or, with the addition of crusty bread and a substantial salad, a full summer meal. For more about the Magnetic Field, visit http://www.themagneticfield.com.

Makes 1 gallon (serves six)

Soup:
1 large red pepper seeded
2 large ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom)
1 English cucumber
2 shallots (peeled)
1/2 small red onion
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed
1/2 seedless watermelon
1/4 cup of basil
1/4 cup of honey
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 250 ML bottle of Champagne (the small one)
Salt to taste

For the Puree:
1 large butternut squash
1 Meyer lemon
Sprinkle of salt and sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the squash, halve lengthwise, de-seed and then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and salt and place on a baking sheet. Add water in the bottom of the pan to only half submerge squash. Cut the lemon into wedges and place on top of the squash. Cover with parchment paper and bake for an hour, or until soft. Remove from the oven, let cool, then remove the seeds from the lemon and place all the solids into the blender. If tightly covered, the squash steams and the liquid it was cooked in does not evaporate. The liquid can be added to the blender slowly until a consistent, smooth puree is achieved.

While the squash bakes, chop all the ingredients for the soup into large pieces that fit easily into your blender. You might need to do this in two batches, adding the champagne as the liquid for one batch, and the vinegar for the liquid of the second batch. If you’re having any trouble getting it to mix evenly, just add a little warm water. Season with more salt or honey if needed. Place in fridge until serving. 

Ladle soup into bowls, and then add butternut puree into the center of the bowl.

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