WATERMELON GAZPACHO

IMG_3715Triple digits just hit us this week so there goes any incentive to cook and make the house even hotter! It’s not even officially summer, yet! Since it’s Father’s Day weekend I was thinking of barbecuing for my husband and this chilled soup will be the perfect first course, or possibly main course if it really hits 107 😬

The first time I had watermelon gazpacho was years ago in a little local cafe and I couldn’t believe how refreshing it tasted. I like tomato and cucumber gazpacho but using watermelon instead of tomatoes makes it lighter, less acidic and so refreshing. You can blend it as finely as you like or leave it chunky (my preference).  I like to dice some of the veggies/melon and add to the puréed portion for more texture.IMG_3690

I have made numerous versions of this recipe, so it is easily adapted to your own tastes.  For example, I do not use more than one small tomato and sometimes I don’t use any tomatoes because I really like the watermelon flavor to dominate, not the tomato.  As for heat, you can go with serrano chilis for the most heat or anaheim, pasilla or poblanos for a more mild kick.  In my many iterations, mint and anise fronds are currently my favorite herbs but you can also use basil, parsley and/or cilantro.  Same with the vinegar, I have used balsamic and red wine both which have strong flavors or try rice vinegar which really goes well with the watermelon.  So, as with most of my recipes, there is lots of flexibility to account for all our different taste preferences.

I am giving you my favorite version but feel free to tweak it to your liking; most importantly, just make this gazpacho and you will have a new favorite hot weather dish when you just cannot bear to turn on the stove!  Note: I just had a bowl of this for BREAKFAST as it is already hot outside and it hit the spot 😋

IMG_3698RECIPE for WATERMELON GAZPACHO (makes about 8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small seedless water, about 5 – 6 cups
  • 2 firm cucumbers (preferably with small to no seeds like English cucumbers or very fresh slicing cukes)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small clove garlic (optional)
  • 1 chili pepper (serrano, poblano, anaheim, etc)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 small fresh, sweet tomato (optional)
  • 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar (can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs, such as: anise fronds, mint, cilantro or parlsey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel cucumbers and dice, setting aside about 1/4 cup for garnish.
  2. Remove rind from watermelon and dice, setting aside about 1/4 cup for garnish.
  3. Finely chop the red onion, save some for garnish.
  4. Peel and dice the garlic clove.
  5. Remove seeds and white membrane from red bell pepper and dice, set aside some for garnish.
  6. If you using a tomato, dice it and save a bit for the garnish.
  7. Put all the chopped vegetables, except those for the garnish, into a food processor and pulse a few times until chunky.IMG_3704
  8. Add juice of fresh lime, vinegar, herbs and salt and pepper, continue to pulse until texture is fine but not pureed (unless you like it that way!)
  9. Pour the soup mixture into a large bowl or jar, adjust seasonings, adding chili flakes if you like or more vinegar or lime juice.  Store in the fridge overnight to develop the flavors. This really gets better with time.
  10. When ready to serve, pour into small bowls and garnish with the diced veggies you saved and more fresh herbs.  IMG_3731

Be prepared to feel cool and refreshed after a few bites of this delicious, addicting, perfect-for-hot-weather cold soup!

 

Left: Finely pureed Watermelon Gazpacho with Fennel and Mint

Right: Watermelon Gazpacho with diced veggies added for texture and garnished with cilantro

 

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