Using the ol’ melon

Posted by Anita on 09.10.07 1:04 PM

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reservedIt’s been a gazpacho-filled summer for us. In addition to the traditional Spanish soup’s regular appearances on our warm-weather menus, we kicked off tomato season with Cookie’s gloriously deconstructed version, and were lucky enough to sample Sean’s gorgeous white Andalucian gazpacho, too.

Now, I love me a straight-ahead gazpacho as much as the next tomato fanatic — that magical combination of cucumber, pepper, tomato, and vinegar is nearly unbeatable when it’s too hot to cook. But with two show-stopping variations fresh in my mind, I craved something equally appealing for Tami’s second Super Soup Challenge.

Rummaging through my library copy of Mitchell Davis’s Kitchen Sense, I spied a likely candidate. Much like the watermelon salad we brought to DPaul’s party last month, this fruit-based gazpacho is actually a savory appetizer, not a dessert. But it’s still easy as pie.

After rough-chopping all the veggies — all of which are in season and readily available from local farmers markets — you simply whiz them all together with a few simple seasonings, strain out any remaining bits, and chill for an hour in the fridge. At serving time, a pair of salty garnishes teams up with your best olive oil to add a touch of contrast. Drizzling the olive oil off the edge of a spoon gives the sparkle of beautiful small droplets.

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved

Watermelon Gazpacho
- adapted from Kitchen Sense

1 6-pound ‘icebox’ watermelon, red-fleshed
2 Kirby cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled (seeded, if necessary) and chopped
1 fresno chile or other medium-hot red chile, chopped
1/4 large red pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2/3 cup tomato juice
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh-ground black pepper
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
3 T finely chopped Kalamata olives
your best olive oil, for drizzling

Remove the rind from the watermelon. Cut the flesh into chunks and remove the seeds, if necessary; you should have about 6 cups of melon. Using a stick blender, traditional blender, or food processor, blend all soup ingredients (except the garnishes) until well liquified — about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the puree through a large-mesh strainer to remove any lingering seeds or other bits, pushing the pulp through with a spatula. Adjust seasonings as needed, and chill for at least an hour. Serve garnished with the feta and olives, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 6 as an appetizer

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Comment by cookiecrumb

Oh, blasphemy! No actual garden tomato in your soup?
Still… sounds so delish. Once you’ve got me past breaking the “rules” by using watermelon, even the cheese sounds perfect.
Wait. Olives?

Posted on 09.10.07 at 6:30PM

Comment by Anita

Cookie: Don’t tell anyone, but I pureed an heirloom tomato for the 2/3 cup of tomato juice. :D

I know it sounds wierd, but olives + feta + melon = yum. The watermelon salad does the same, and it’s even better.

Posted on 09.10.07 at 6:35PM

Comment by Kalyn

Very creative and very delicious sounding.

Posted on 09.10.07 at 9:11PM

Comment by Jan

Oh, this sounds good! I’ve got two large watermelons that Dani brought me from eastern WA to make watermelon pickle with, and now I have something new and delicious to make with the flesh.

I also use kalamatas in watermelon salad with feta cheese. It really does work.

Posted on 09.10.07 at 9:53PM

Comment by Lauren

This sounds fab. I love watermelon and feta and olives. Doesn’t everyone salt their watermelon before eating? Essentially the feta and olives achieve the same thing.

Posted on 09.11.07 at 10:40AM

Comment by bluezebra

I am such a watermelon junkie! I love the sound of this and maybe I still have time to get it done before the end of our season!!! Great idea, tia!


Posted on 09.11.07 at 4:16PM

Comment by Chubbypanda

Oooooh… I just did a recipe for a White Gazpacho using cucumber, green bell peppers, and apples. Now you’ve got a Red Gazpacho with watermelon instead of tomatoes. Awesome!

Posted on 09.11.07 at 4:38PM

Pingback by What is everyone else doing? « eat like a girl

[...] Running with Tweezers has run a Summer Soup Challenge. There’s some beautiful entries (54 in all). I will definitely be trying some, particularly, confetti gazpacho at Kalyn’s Kitchen, an Asian spin on Matzoh Ball Soup from Arfi at HomeMadeS and Married with Dinner’s Watermelon Gazpacho. [...]

Posted on 09.14.07 at 11:20AM

Comment by arfi

what a lovely combination. I have never tried watermelon for soup! Another idea I’d love to try!

Posted on 09.16.07 at 9:41AM

Comment by arundathi

I loved this recipe so much. I’ve blogged about it here:

Posted on 05.04.08 at 11:35PM

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