Summer melons are finally starting to come into season here in the PNW, after a cold spring and late summer. On the three days of the year where it gets somewhat uncomfortable in your third floor apartment, cold blended soups come to the rescue! I usually make a greener, veggie packed gazpacho, but last week I had a quarter of a small watermelon left and a huge, fat heirloom tomato sitting on my kitchen table. This combination of watermelon and tomato seems to be popping up in salads everywhere these days, and is justifiably delicious. Whenever I come across sun ripened tomatoes, I usually eat them simply on toast with a slathering mayonnaise and basil leaf. But! now, at this time of year, there is quite an abundance of heirloom tomatoes and I can afford to blend some farmers market seconds up into gazpacho.
This version of gazpacho is sweeter than the traditional soup and does not use stale bread to thicken. I usually use a cup of cooked white beans to thicken the soup and add some protein. In this case, I did not have any cooked beans on hand and just used some xanthan gum. This is a powder that is used a lot in both molecular gastronomy and in gluten free baking. Just be sure not to use too much or your soup will become really, really thick and gummy. Avocado can be blended into the soup or simply diced and scattered on top and provides both something creamy and something to chew to the soup.
Watermelon and tomato gazpacho
adapted from herbivoracious
2 cups cubed red, seedless watermelon
2-3 cups cubed, very ripe (and most likely, expensive) heirloom tomato
1 small sweet white onion, roughly chopped. (I used a fresh walla walla onion)
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup of cooked white beans (optional) OR
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
small handful of basil or cilantro
juice of one lime
1-2 tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
garnishes: diced avocado, tossed in lime juice, or plain yogurt, more herbs to garnish
In a blender, combine watermelon, tomato. pepper, onion, beans or xanthan gum, herbs, lime juice, olive oil, and seasoning. If you are using the gum, let the gum hydrate for a bit and reblend. Taste and adjust seasoning; I usually have to add more salt and acid. Chill and let the flavors meld. Serve in small bowls or cups and garnish with avocado or plain yogurt and scatter some herbs on top.