Brian has a couple of recipes he always for in a new cookbook. Brownies, of course. But, perhaps surprisingly, gazpacho. Brian first heard about this sumptuous soup thirty years ago, watching a cooking show on television. Yes, they had cooking shows then. The show ended, he went to the store, came back with veggies and V8 juice, and reached for his blender.
Every since we met, we’ve been trying gazpacho recipes on a regular basis. They come in red, green, orange and white. With tomatoes, almonds, lettuce, … I really can’t say I’ve ever had bad gazpacho, but there are some recipes out there I would not try again.
This recipe, on the other hand, is one to use throughout the summer. It does have tomato, well tomato juice, but the main ingredient is watermelon. This soup is thin [depending on how much bread you use] and delicate, but not watery. The watermelon flavor is intense, supported by the slight additions of vinegar, lemon juice and pepper. It’s a lovely variation on the standard tomato-based gazpacho.
The picture at the top here shows the one variation that we applied. We first filled the bowls with diced onion and avocado. Not too much, but enough to add some texture and tang.
The summer of 2010 heat wave seems endless. This soup won’t stop the heat, but it will make it happily bearable.
Yield: 4 servings
- 8 cups coarsely charged seedless watermelon, plus ½ cup finely diced seedless watermelon
- ½ loaf country bread, crust removed and torn into small pieces (about 4 cups)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- ⅓ cup tomato juice preferably low sodium
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 toasted bread rounds
- Piment d’Espelette (or mildly hot paprika), for serving
In a food processor, purée the 8 cups coarsely chopped watermelon. Pass through a mesh strainer (you should have 4 cups watermelon juice). Discard the remaining pulp.
Return the watermelon juice to the fruit processor along with the bread, olive oil, tomato juice, water, vinegar, lemon juice, and cayenne. Purée until smooth and strain into a large bowl. Season to taste with salt, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours
Divide gazpacho among 4 shallow bowls. Garnish each bowl with about 2 tablespoons of finely diced watermelon. Place a toasted bread round on top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and light dusting of Piment d’Espelette.