Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cool Soup, Hot Flavor

Last summer, I was introduced to the world of cold soups. If you’ve never had cold soup before, it sounds nasty. I discovered chilled soups on accident one day when the soup I ordered from Hale & Hearty arrived cold. By far, my favorite in this genre is gazpacho and I particularly love this variation of the recipe below.

This soup is filling, low in calories, and delicious. I used to pair this with either a garden salad, grilled vegetables with olive oil & vinegar, or a small pasta or bean salad for a great summer lunch.

I recently made gazpacho with a can of diced tomatoes, no salt added, so feel free to cheat. Also, you can skip the blending part and just mix everything together and then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours for a chunkier soup.

Watermelon Gazpacho

3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves, or mint leaves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or power
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped watermelon (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 small Kirby cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 2/3 cups)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
Finely mince garlic, basil, cayenne, cumin, and salt to form a rough, sandy paste.

Place tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, onion, and garlic paste in a large bowl and toss to mix. Let stand for about 15 minutes.

Working in 4 batches, place 1/4 of the vegetable mixture in a blender (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth, adding 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons water to each batch. Transfer puréed soup to a large nonreactive bowl and repeat the blending process with remaining vegetable mixture. Whisk in vinegar and adjust seasoning to taste.

Optional: Garnish with some cubed watermelon and tomatoes, a little mixture of equal parts salt and cayenne, a thin slice of cucumber and basil oil.

If you’re not up for the sweet-savory thing, here’s a link to some great traditional takes on gazpacho.


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