Friday, July 29, 2011

Watermelon Gazpacho

Once or twice every summer, we invariably make watermelon gazpacho. It’s a delicious way to consume half of a large watermelon, and as the summer draws to a close (it is nearly over right?) it's a great time to enjoy a cold soup. We discovered the following recipe when we went on a raw food kick a few years ago and have been enjoying it ever since.

My mom was visiting for a few days and brought a giant watermelon from her farmer’s market. I was surprised when I cut into it that it was the color of cantaloupe. I have never seen nor heard of orange watermelons. Are there other colors of watermelon? Though delicious, it was also seedless, which I don’t recommend. For this recipe, the watermelon has to be seeded, and seedless watermelons produce immature seeds that are more difficult to remove (and supposedly edible, but this particular watermelon had a lot of them and I didn't want to eat them). I don’t understand the appeal of seedless watermelons anyways.  It’s fun to spit out seeds – why deny children a chance to spit? Also, if you have a watermelon that produces seeds then you can save a few to plant the following year.

We had the watermelon as well as cucumber, tomato, and bell pepper, which form the base of the soup. The recipe also calls for a little bit of green onion, ginger, cilantro and jalapeno, none of which we had so I substituted finely minced garlic and basil from our garden. It was delicious. I guess I’ve learned that you can make a cold soup with the above base and season it anyway you want or have ingredients for. This soup is such an enjoyable summer meal, I should probably try a few more cold soup recipes before Labor Day.

This recipe can be found in Matthew Kenney’s and Sarma Melngailis’s Raw Food/Real World.  The cookbook also has wonderful raw variations on alcoholic drinks.  We especially love the mojitos which replace the white rum with sake and sparkling white wine.

Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho
3 cups watermelon, seeded and pureed in a blender
1 cup seeded watermelon, diced small
1 cup seeded tomato, diced small (about 2 medium tomatoes)
1 cup peeled, seeded cucumber, diced small 
(from about 1/3 English cucumber or 1 or 2 whole Kirbys)
½ cup red or green bell pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small handful cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ small jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 green onion, white and 1 inch green, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large glass bowl or container, combine the watermelon puree with the diced watermelon, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, ginger, green onion, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Season with fresh black pepper and additional salt, if desired.  Ladle into chilled soup bowls and serve, or refrigerate to chill and then serve.

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