Last summer, I took my mother to L'Espalier in Boston for her birthday, partially because it has amazing food, and mostly because she cooked there in the gay 80's. Everything, bien sur, was fabulous (and tiny!), but the dark horse favorite was the deconstructed watermelon soup. I don't usually like sweet soups, or cold soups, and certainly wouldn't have ordered this one if it weren't part of the prix-fixe, but it. was. amazing.
Basically the essence of watermelon, strained, chilled, and ladled over hibiscus petals and diced cucumbers. Adrienne's gazpacho is a bit more rustic, the sort of soup made for eating absentmindedly out of a large tupperware until, poof! it's gone. Trust me on this.
Watermelon Gazpacho Food and Wine, August 2007
6 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored
2 pounds seedless watermelon, peeled- 2 cups coarsely chopped, 2 cups diced
2 pounds cucumbers, peeled and seeded- 2 cups coarsely chopped, 2 cups diced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, and a splash of balsamic, it was all I had and it worked well.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Bring a large pot of water to a boil to blanch the tomatoes, until skins are loosened, about 30 seconds. Peel the tomatoes and slice them in half cross-wise. Working over a coarse sieve set in a large bowl, squeeze the tomato halves, releasing the juice and seeds. Press on the seeds. You should have approximately 2 cups. Coarsely chop the tomatoes to make 4 cups. Dice the remaining tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a food processor, puree the the coarsely chopped tomato, the reserved tomato juice, the 2 cups each of the coarsely chopped watermelon and the cucumber together. Transfer the soup into large bowl, stir in the reserved diced tomato, cucumber, and watermelon. Stir in the vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
In a small bowl, mix the scallion, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle gazpacho into individual bowls, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and pass the lime relish to garnish.
[Image via Adrienne Kane]