California Avocado-Seafood Chowder

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Is your soup menu a snooze? Consider this distinctive seafood chowder where California avocados act as a rich and colorful wake-up call.



  1. Thoroughly scrub, then rinse mussels, until clean.
  2. Discard any that remain open after handling.
  3. Steam mussels, covered, in wine until just open, about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove mussels with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid; discard any that do not open.
  5. Reserve in shell (unless serving chowder immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving the chowder)
  6. Strain mussel liquid through an extra-fine sieve to remove grit; reserve.
  7. Sauté onion in butter until soft, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in cumin and garlic.
  9. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  10. Stir in reserved mussel liquid and potatoes.
  11. Add water.
  12. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.
  13. Cook, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  14. Stir in milk, cream, corn, and tomato; bring to a simmer (do not boil or liquid could separate).
  15. Cook, covered, about 5 minutes.
  16. Stir in avocado and scallops; cover.
  17. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 4 minutes.
  18. Stir in chopped cilantro (if you are not serving immediately, pour into an airtight container; store in the refrigerator).
  19. To serve, gently heat chowder in a covered pot.
  20. Divide chowder among 6 warmed, shallow soup plates.
  21. Stick 3 reserved mussels in their shell into the hot liquid of each serving.
  22. Garnish each with a cilantro sprig.