gazpacho. Gazpacho is traditionally made from tomatoes, but I have never been a huge fan of cold tomato soup. Silver's use of watermelon as the base was a revelation for me, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities of cold soup from raw ingredients. So, the other night I attempted to recreate it with a tangerine watermelon I picked up at the Lane County Farmer's Market. The results, though perhaps not worthy of Syrah Bistro, were absolutely delicious.
Along with the FM watermelon, I used a cucumber from a friend's garden to add crunch, a small red onion for that allium bite, and the juice of a few limes for their tangy citric acid. The lime juice and a pinch of sea salt also helped to break the fruit and veggies down and infuse the individual ingredients with each others' flavors, and to infiltrate them with several peppery additions to the mix. The finishing touch: finely chopped cilantro for an aromatic character that excites the sense of smell before the soup even touches your tongue.
It may seem a little late in the season for cold soups, but for the home gardener and the FM shopper the fruit has been ripening all summer and now is definitely the time to use it all up before it spoils. The raw aspect means that there is no energy used at home to prepare the meal, and the fact that it is vegan means that no animals were harmed during the creation of this recipe (I did scold Cleo for trying to eat the onion, but that was for her own good; onions are poisonous to dogs).
Spicy Watermelon and Cucumber Gazpacho
1 small Watermelon
1 Red Onion
Juice of 2 Limes
1 fresh Chili, slightly spicy
1 handful fresh Cilantro
Red, Black and White Pepper to taste
A pinch of Sea Salt
Serves 6 as appetizer, 3 or 4 as main course.
Cut the watermelon into slices, and then dice finely. Try to retain as much juice as possible and add with the watermelon to a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients. Dice the red onion, chili and cucumber, and add to the bowl. Finely chop or tear cilantro and add to the other ingredients Add the spices, salt and lime juice, and refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour.
Serve in small cups or mugs, garnish with more cilantro if desired.