During the long hot summer, among the things I’m always trying to reinvent are cold soups. I wait and wait for delicious charentais melons to arrive, and now they are here (as of this writing). These melons belong to the cantaloupe family. When properly ripe they will perfume your whole house.* This is the sweetest, most desirable melon there is. Here I’ve turned it into an easy gazpacho style cold soup with the addition of a bit of curry. The two balance out perfectly. This is a tomato-less soup modeled on the original Spanish “white gazpacho” which predates the tomato version. —pierino
- Serves 4
charentais melon, about 2 ½ pounds (or substitute cantaloupe or other sweet, orange/yellow fleshed melon)
slices day old white bread crusts removed
Slivered almonds, about 1 ounce
1 1/2 teaspoons
really good curry powder (or more to taste)
A splash of good Spanish sherry vinegar
Spanish extra virgin olive oil, or something buttery in taste**
fleur de sel or other sea salt
- Slice your lovely melon in half. Scoop out the seeds. With your very sharp knife remove the outer hull. Cube the melon flesh into cubes (or pretend cubes) of about 2 inches.
- Juice the lime and squeeze over the melon and let it rest while you go to work.
- Meanwhile give the stale bread a light soak of water (preferably organic and gluten free spring water from Portland) and then tear the bread up into pieces.
- Heat up a dry skillet and lightly toast the almonds. Don’t let them burn. Set aside.
- Place all of the ingredients into a powerful, variable speed blender. Not the wimp ass one you mix Jagermeister Red Bull margaritas in. Begin by pulsing a few times and then crank up the speed to full on liquefy. It’s fun to watch that vortex form in the center. Strain (with a coarse mesh strainer) into a bowl (if you like you can skip this step, sometimes I do). The purpose of the straining step is to remove any seeds and give you a smooth texture but there is something to be said for a little mouth feel here, I’m now convinced. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.
- *Note to cook; when purchasing a good melon, like a charentais, don’t squeeze it. Sniff the cut blossom end.
- ** I live in an olive oil producing part of California, so I have access to some really good small production oils. One I like a lot is Olio Nuevo's "Reserve Blend". There is something to be said for terroir.