The Perfect Summer Soup
While traveling in Spain in 2015, I ordered many versions of gazpacho, and while some were better than others, none were made with watermelon. When I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking I was intrigued. Recently we fired up the BBQ and grilled up some watermelon. The results were delicious, and Tom has declared it his new favorite summer soup (which is amazing as he claims to hate cucumbers!).
After following the original directions, I had left over watermelon and cucumber, but no actual gazpacho left over, so I have increased the ingredients a tad to use up all the ingredients and yield more servings. With regard to the watermelon, if you haven’t tried Dulcinea brand, we really like them. Small, flavorful and seedless.
3 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. chipotle chile powder (we used Melissa’s Hatch Chile Powder)
4 slices watermelon (small watermelon (3-4 lbs.), sliced into ¾” slices, discard ends)
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 shallot, chopped
2 medium Serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 fresh lime, zested and then juiced (save the zest for the lime crema)
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. crème fraiche
Heat the grill to high. In a small bowl, combine 2 T. olive oil with the chile powder (add more chile powder if you like it spicier). Brush the watermelon slices with the chile oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the watermelon slices until nicely charred on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a cutting board. When cooled, remove the rind, seed if necessary, and coarsely chop the flesh.
In a blender, combine the watermelon flesh, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, shallot, Serrano chiles and 1 1/2 T. olive oil. Blend until almost smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the freshly squeezed lime juice and the red wine vinegar. Season to taste with Kosher salt or, my favorite, fleur de sel. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.
Lime Crema Garnish: Combine the crème fraiche with the lime zest in a small bowl. Thin with a small amount of water or lime juice if necessary. Add a dollop over the soup when serving.