‘SPARKLING’ WATERMELON GAZPACHO by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
July 20, 2018
‘Tis the season for GAZPACHO, the iconic Spanish chilled soup.
This version uses seedless watermelon as the soup base instead of the more prevalent tomato juice base.This makes a soup that is a bit sweeter and that can be offset with fresh lime juice and a feta cheese garnish. The sweet, salty and lime flavors provide the soup with a savory balance. And adding a bit of flavored sparkling water at the end provides a bit of fizz. (I have made this soup for a wedding shower and added, an Italian sparkling wine.(Very Festive!)
As this soup is fruitier-tasting than the tomato-based version, serve it for lunch or brunch along with grilled baguette slices, rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
Watching an internet video on the techniques of dicing, especially bell peppers, would be very helpful. I still watch other chefs’ techniques.
(I love watching other chefs cook!)
- Prep: 1 hr
- Yields: 3 quarts, 10-12 servings
1 whole seedless watermelon
1 red bell pepper
½ green bell pepper
1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper (or 2 yellow or 2 orange peppers)
3 tablespoons finely minced red onion
1 teaspoon white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 cup (8 ounces) plain, full-fat yogurt
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 cups (16 ounces) flavored sparkling water (I used Poland Spring’s cucumber-melon sparkling water)
Optional: 10 to 12 ounces feta cheese cut into ¼-dice cubes
~ Cut each end off the watermelon and then cut the watermelon in half through the circumference (‘the waist’). Set the pieces on a cutting board, circumference side down. Remove the skin from each half, by using a chef’s knife to shave the skin away from the melon in long strokes, from top to bottom and following the curve of the melon. Be sure to take the white part along with the skin.
Repeat with the second half piece of melon.
~ Slice the melon into 1 ½ inch slices and then cut across the slices into 1 ½ inch cubes.
Put off the cubes into a bowl, lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice. Refrigerate.
~ Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the peppers into very small dice, no more than ½ inch would be very elegant. (Again, I suggest that you take a look on the internet for a quick video on dicing peppers; a ‘visual explanation’ would be very helpful.)
Put the diced peppers into a 4-quart serving bowl.
~ Peel and dice red onion as finely as you can manage. Measure 3 tablespoons or minced red onion and add to the serving bowl with the teaspoon of vinegar. Stir to combine.
~ Peel the cucumbers. Cut the ends off and cut the cucumbers in half, again through the circumference/middle. Cut each piece into ¼-inch slices. Lay each slice down flat on the board and cut across each slice into ¼-inch diced pieces Sprinkle with a touch of kosher salt and add to the (serving) bowl. Add the yogurt and stir to mix thoroughly.
~ Working in batches, puree the diced watermelon in a blender. You will have made watermelon juice. Pour the watermelon juice over the cut vegetables.
Stir to combine all. Taste and season with fresh lime juice, kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
~ Refrigerate for about an hour or longer to let the flavors develop.
Before serving, stir in the sparkling water. Ladle into individual glasses or bowls. Float one or two pieces of diced feta cheese on top and drizzle with an extra touch of olive oil.