Seeking Comfort with an Avocado, Apple and Poached Salmon Soup

If you have been following this blog for some time, it will be no surprise to you that I have a tremendous sense of melancholy and nostalgia when it comes to food and all memories associated with it.

I very much romanticize about the act of cooking and eating.

Through the process of writing this book, I have dug deep into my childhood and growing up in a family of cooks. It seems as though every important event in my life has an aroma and taste associated with it. Whether it may be the smell of wet dirt still attached to the roots of leeks in the winter or the crackling sound of olive oil poached potatoes, food is the background of many of the stories of my life.

The soundtrack of my life. Yo La Tengo and food.

I spent large part of last week writing food-related stories, both past and current. I felt the connection to my past and I recognized an enhanced romanticism when I wrote about it.

“Was it all this wonderful?” I thought to myself. So hard to distinguish sometimes. I thought about it a lot over the weekend. I’m sure you relate to this feeling as well.

I can be in my head quite a bit sometimes and by Saturday, I started to feel a bit homesick. Too much thinking and too much writing drove me to the edge of exhaustion.

I called my best friend Jill who even from Italy, manages to sense how I am doing. “I cannot read your blog sometimes” she said. “I know you too well for that”.

I got it. I knew what she meant.

I had finished and submitted another book chapter to my editor by Saturday, so I took the weekend off from thinking, writing, editing, and all things work-related.

I quickly blended a soup of avocados, cucumber, and apple. Served it with olive oil-poached salmon, radishes, and watercress.

For dessert, last year’s apricot tart. The simplest tart you can make.

I needed to experience cooking and food in a practical way, not always needing to associate it to an emotion or a feeling.

But is that even possible?

Not sure I am good at that, especially when I end up photographing what I have cooked. Then, food takes another dimension once again as photographing means recreating the moment, the mood in which this dish was created. Photographing means creating an emotion.

I just cannot escape it.

Avocado and Apple Soup with Poached Salmon

Serves 4

8 oz salmon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pit removed and diced
1 medium green apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
Juice of half a lemon
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm. Submerge the salmon and let it cook slowly for 5 to 7 minutes until the outside is no longer opaque but center is still slightly pink.

Meanwhile, puree the avocados, apple, cucumber, onion, vegetable stock, salt and pepper in a blender. Adjust seasoning. It will be thick. Add more stock if desired.

Serve the soup at room temperature with the flaked salmon, radishes, green onions and some watercress leaves.

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84 Responses to “Seeking Comfort with an Avocado, Apple and Poached Salmon Soup”

  1. Marvelous food and clicks! That avocado soup looks so soothing, fresh and really palatable. I love the idea.



  2. argone says:

    avocat et pomme … mélange astucieux qui m’intrigue !
    merci !!

  3. Rachel says:

    that is the prettiest tart i have ever seen!

  4. Alice says:

    i’ve fallen in love with your tart…
    marvellous pictures, as usual!!!!

    you are very inspiring to me, thank you!

  5. antonia says:

    la tarta es maravillosa, al igual que cada foto, eres una gran artista!

  6. These are beautiful pictures! I love the way that apricot tart looks.

  7. juliana says:

    aran! q lindo post! se te siente tanto cuando se te lee q hasta se podria decir q te conozco! hermoso… espero q te sea un poco mas leve esta semana…

  8. Coco says:

    Aran, my heart goes out to you on those melancholy days when you feel most homesick. When I lived in Seattle and pined for my friends and family in Alabama I often found cooking and blogging had powerful calming properties, especially on those dismal rainy days.

    I am glad you too find comfort, even in simple (and beautiful!) bowls of avocado soup :) Remember that as you drudge up wonderful memories of your time in Basque, although they may provoke feelings of homesickness, they will also be the heart of your new book and you will no doubt inspire many with your words.

    Beautiful photographs as always! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  9. Molly says:

    The swirls of leftover soup, coupled with the swirls of the apricot tart: just gorgeous.

  10. The apricot tart. Oh my gorgeous. Why deny yourself the emotion. We all eat and cook with emotion. Food is intimacy. There is no denying that. Otherwise we food bloggers wouldn’t do what we do. It moves us.

  11. After making your strawberry tartlets, and now your butternut squash/cauliflower soup and then the salmon/goat cheese tart, I have such a strong sense of what you mean. My food background is the deep south of cajun country. We did everything around big piles of crawfish, crusty french bread, and strong chicory coffee. Food is a powerful force and I am happy it has me in its grip!

  12. emm says:

    I used to read your homesick posts and feel really sad for you, in a detached kinda way. I mean it was your feelings, not mine. But now that I too am living in another country, far, far away from home and family I read your posts with so much more understanding of where you are at. And I share your association between food and memories. I made apple and blackberry crumble tonight. I was missing home.

  13. Laura says:

    Your post hit an emotional cord inside me. I am like you, I have such strong memories related to food, the smells, the feeling of being at a table with family and friends. When I write on my blog about Venice, its food, and my memories, I have to stop and cry sometimes, I get really homesick. Your children are really lucky because you are creating all these memories all over again.

    The tart looks amazing, so does the soup.


  14. Maja says:

    So delicious, nice pictures too!!

  15. jacqui says:

    Oh my this soup sounds delicious and fresh for Summer! I can never escape my food memories either, I think it’s important not to though. Beautiful images too.

  16. All that you wrote sounds so familiar to me, as I’m living so far away from the place I will always call home :( I miss it so much that sometimes I have to avoid thinking about it or I’m gonna start crying…the soup sounds delicious but the apricot tart looks heavenly, I love it!!!

  17. Carmen says:

    Miren que post tan bonito.
    El fin de semana compre albaricoques y cerezas..y empece a buscar en tus archivos, ayer hice tartitas de albaricoque…sencillas y super ricas y el jeves hacre gallete de cerezas!
    bso Carmen

  18. tinajo says:

    Just gorgeous – you make food look better than I thought was possible! :-)

  19. Golubka says:

    So beautiful! I know exactly what you mean, being from a kitchen-centered family, every memory has a meal or aroma tied to it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This was such a beautiful post. The writing simple yet with an emotional tug while the images are perfect in every way. I especially loved that peach overlap design.Hope to be back soon again at your blog.

  21. Hi all-

    Sometimes I fear that when I use the term melancholy, it might be mistaken by sadness. It shouldn’t be. I actually love the feeling of nostalgia, in a positive light. Although it might sound contradictory, it gives me purpose and I draw lots of inspiration from it. It’s just my point of view.

    I also feel that sometimes this blog might give the impression that I strive for perfection. Every bowl in its place, every napkin perfectly folded… I wanted to share that life is never perfect.

    I want this blog to be a source of inspiration and ideas. A positive place. But believe me, my life is not perfect, nor do I always want it to be.

    Thanks for taking the time to tell me about your thoughts as well!



  22. Juliana says:

    I can very much understand you and your feelings. My memories are also often linked to food. It’s a comforting feeling, but also one that can be irritating. Smells and sounds that bring back the good and the not so good memories. Your book will be very personal and be extra special because of that.

  23. Itxaso says:

    Bai, ulertuten dotsut, niri be nostalgia sentidutea asko gustetan jata, eta oin dala gitxi konturatu nez horregaz, baia zuk esan dozun moduen, modu positibo baten,eta gauze asko iteko oinarri moduen dekot, behar iteko, denpora librea pasetako, oin ude datorrela ta egin gure dodazen gauzetan pentsetako.Askotan igirten dot zure testoak irakurrite holan sentiduten zarela.Baia badakit ez dala tristurea… ni be romantika bat naz! jajaja

  24. I love how you create such a scene with these memories and deep feelings. Thank you for always being so open with us.

  25. Looks wonderful.

    I think food and memories are always one.
    Ive just finished Nigel Slater’s “toast” which is great evidence of this.

    Be honest to yourself and your style of writing and you cant go wrong.]

  26. Ambra says:

    Rimango incantata di fronte alle tue foto…è tutto meravigliosamente bello!!!

  27. Gourmet says:

    I will try that soup for sure. Looks delicious… I just love your style!

  28. Iratxe says:

    …mmm … mmm … ¡DELICIOSO!. Muxuak.

  29. I don’t know which I want more, the apricot tart or the avocado soup? Both look gorgous but I think I’ll go for the tart :)

  30. That soup is beautiful. Plating was one of the lessons I loved the most when I was a culinary school student (I wrote about it here, if you’re interested: “Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood” – on Amazon Kindle).

  31. What a gorgeous tart! Is it weird to describe a pastry as adorable?

  32. Hazel says:

    Your tart looks like a rose it’s so elegantly put together. You are an artist! :)

  33. Love the pictures, amazing. Your such an inspiration for me in the way your pictures tell a story! I hope one day I can pictures of my food like you do! Everything looks delicious!

  34. That tart is beautiful! I understand your food nostalgia.. happens to me all teh time, sometimes happy sometimes sad. Always delicious!

  35. Angela KL says:

    Your soup and tart look so yummy!! I must try and bake a tart like yours, As always, your pictures are amazing.

  36. vanessa says:

    notre abricotier va bientôt être généreux et une tarte est une merveilleuse façon de les accommoder !

  37. Everything is so beautiful! As usual…
    This apricot pie is soooo yummy!

  38. Laura says:

    Lovely pictures! It always makes me so hungry and willing to cook lots! I cook gluten free rather often because of my mum and brother and its great to have close such an inspiring blog! Greetings from Germany.

  39. ibb says:

    Nostalgia gauza askotaz senti leike ta horrek hauek burura ekarten douzku, beraz, ez da txarra…irakurtzean amaman txokolatadak etorri dira burura…txokolatea nola txikitzen zun, nola egiten txapan…gero ogi txingortua txapan…ogi txingortuaren adikzioa diat eta amaman txitxortak (beraganian bakarrik jan dotaz).
    Hain da goxoa zure hitzak entzutia!

  40. Your food looks delicious.. the tart is so wonderful!

  41. Inés says:

    Aran igual esan nahi dozuna da galizieraz “morriña” eta euskaraz “etxemina” edo “herrimina” Hitz guztiak niretzat nostalgia adierazi nahi dute. Eta ederrak dira.

  42. Kyo says:

    Wow! Your pictures are just so…WOW!
    Love them. I´d wish I could do that.
    And I love your table. It´s adorable!

  43. That tart! So, so beautiful. I have been following your blog for sometime now and every time I visit, I am transported to a beautiful, light place.

  44. Una entrada preciosa y una fotos magníficas!!!
    Me gusta todo: la tarta, con un color divino; la crema perfecta y sabrosa.


  45. Love that beautiful tart. The photos are fantastic and the fruit swirl delightful. Great blog.


  46. a. maren says:

    aw, your apricots look like flowers. gorgeous, as always.

  47. Vivienne says:

    how i wish is apricot season here in australia!!

    i will be making the avocado soup later today (when I get my hands on some vege stock!

    im in awe of your beautiful photographs…you’re right, each of the photos represents an emotion associated with the moment!

  48. Kasinka says:

    These are beautiful pictures!

  49. Your blog is beautiful! So glad I found it today! and this looks amazing, i wish i could just “quickly blend” something just like this. And I don’t know that taking the emotion out of cooking is always a good thing, having the emotion behind it means that you can continue to be creative and innovative! Can’t wait to see more!
    ~Nancy Lewis

  50. Hello,

    I am always amazed and delighted by your wonderful photos. Thank you so much for such beautiful work.
    You always use very nice fabrics in your photos. I hope my question will not bother you but I was just wondering if you’d have any fabric shop you’d like to recommend.

    Thank you again and sorry for any inconvenience.


  51. apaler1 says:

    What a wonderful perspective on food and I admit, when I smell my mom’s cooking, I’m brought back to thousands of miles away to my hometown. Your pictures feel really nostalgic as well.

  52. This is one of my favorites of your postings! The candor is always present in both text and image but your emotional tie component really reasonated with me, this time in particular! For a lover of blogs and photography, the ending of your piece with a stack of dirty bowls and your sign off was perfect! I’m literally smiling while I’m writing this…thanks for that! ~Darci

  53. Adrienne says:

    OMG you are the ultimate food goddess!!

  54. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE your photos!!! So beautiful!!


  55. Rebecca says:

    These pictures are stunning and the food looks absolutely delish! You’ve inspired me to get off the computer and go make some food memories of my own by cooking a delicious dinner for myself. Thanks for posting!


  56. Your images are ethereally beautiful. Well done.
    Linda de Mestre
    Pleasures of the Plate

  57. That apricot tart made me feel nostalgia.. Oh the days of good tarts, baking with my mom :) I’m gonna try it out for sure, and the gluten free is perfect for me right now.
    I LOVE your recipies and merveilleuses photo! Trop belle. Bisous
    Naomi :)

  58. such a beautiful honest post Aran. you are always evoking a feeling with food and by photographing and sharing evoking another. Let it be your medicine…what you have to give.

  59. I just went to my friend’s house to get some apricot from her tree. I’m so ready to make that tart :)
    Again, I love your recipes and your photos are amazing. You are my favorite! :)

  60. Aiman says:

    Loving the salmon and avocado dish. Its a treat to look at. And how beautiful is the peach tart? making me want to bake one today.

  61. Aiman says:

    Love the colors of apricort tart and salmon/avocado dish.

    Absolutely beautiful.

  62. Beautiful blog! I’ll be back!

  63. esther says:

    this looks like THE most perfect summer dinner EVER. i’m so excited about it. i have to make it. thank you for sharing your stories and your skill.

  64. megcjones says:

    your photos are exquisite. i particularly love the full shot of that gorgeous apricot tart, and the stack of soup bowls. i love seeing what you’re up to!

    i think one of the reasons that i love food so much is the nostalgia that it can create, and its ability to bring us back to a time in our lives. even if the process is sometimes painful, i usually wouldn’t give up that experience for the world. thank you for sharing this post.

  65. Beautiful photos I love the apricot tart – yum.

  66. Cris M says:

    Dear Aran,
    Food is present in our daily lives at least 4 times a day and we are missing a big part of life is we can not relate food with feelings and memories! When we meet friends, when we celebrate, when we want to care someone, we prepare a table (may be home-cooked or not) but we gather around a table and this is how food is something else than just food, our feelings for others are over that table.
    I am a dietitian and I love to say that I work on education that includes knowing that our feelings and memories and likes and dislikes and experiences (so, OUR LIVE)are related with food. I hate the words “diet”, “restriction”, “guilty” associated with food, because if we do that we are “restricted” and “guilty” about our feelings and for being on a “diet”, missing a great and wonderfull and plenty part of our lives.
    Thank you for such a great inspiration, I love your recipes, photos and posts!
    Kindly from Buenos Aires,
    Cris M

  67. Angel- lots of the fabrics I have are from this brand and i think they have an online shop

    thanks all and have a great weekend!

  68. Lucia says:

    I’ve recently forgot an apricot in my bag. It squashed. I washed it, but it keeps smelling of apricot and sun. Not bad, after all. And yes, I do agree: cooking, and writing, and taking pictures, always creates emotions…

  69. Jessie says:

    cooking, photographing, and blogging are all linked to feelings and emotions to me. it’s somehow resembles writing a poem, putting on a dance, and acting to an audience. it’s a means the creator chooses to express himself or herself to the eater, viewer, or reader. they cannot be separated. at least not for me.


  70. Both dishes look incredible. You are a master at capturing the moment of creating/eating them. I love your style.

  71. This looks scrumptious. I am going to make that tart very soon.

    David from Frenchie and the Yankee

  72. greenthyme says:

    Your pictures are so beautiful and serene. I love stopping by your blog. You capture every detail so well. Beautiful food!

  73. Nedj says:

    Toujours aussi gourmet, gourmand, tentant, coloré et sucré !!
    J’aime !!
    Beaucoup de nostalgie, de parfums d’enfance, de goûters et d’histoires!

  74. I am drooling all over my keyboard right now. Thanks for bringing out my “hunger” emotion!! Lovely photos again!

  75. food photographed so very romantic. I love it!

  76. Luz says:

    You make a gluten-free life look so gorgeos! I´ve been following you for a while and I love your photography, your recipes and just the way you keep it real.

    I´d love to hear your comments and recommendations for my firstborn food blog.

    Keep doing it and I´m looking fwd to your book!

  77. Such a refreshingly honest post. I always love reading what you share. So open and genuine. It’s wonderful you have so many food memories to comfort you.

  78. AnaVar says:

    I’m making these no doubt about it. Thanks for the recipe, not to mention the pictues – yum yum.


  79. Minna says:

    I made this soup for me and parents and we all loved it! Thanks for the recipe.

  80. Kenon says:

    As the summer begins to fade away and the fall weather throws it’s power around. This seems like a comforting dish I could definitely use while at my home office. Stunning job!

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