(POSTED: May 5, 2005)

Carrot Soup with Cucumber Pistachio Relish

2 tablespoons olive oil
 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
 4 cups chopped carrots (about 10)
 3 cloves garlic, chopped
 1 tablespoon sugar
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon curry
 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
 1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, diced
 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
 2 teaspoons chopped mint

1. Make the soup: Heat oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, curry, and cayenne and cook for 1 more minute. Add 5 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots are tender -- about 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar and set aside.
2. Make the relish: Combine the cucumber, pistachios, ginger, cilantro, mint, and remaining salt in a small bowl. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with relish.

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