This summer I realized I love watermelon. I think I was apathetic towards it before this summer, but now that I have a daughter with two teeth and a hearty appetite, I've been buying a lot of soft fruits lately and apparently I am quite fond of quite a few of them. (Someday, when I have an index of recipes, you'll notice that another favorite is peaches. A noticeably disproportionate number of the recipes I've posted on this blog involve peaches as an ingredient. But then, peaches are lovely. Until they aren't. You know what I'm talking about.)
The recipe I'm posting below was a huge hit at a bridal shower I hosted two weeks ago. It's actually the second recipe for watermelon gazpacho I've tried out in the last couple of years, and I believe the superior one. It's simple and refreshing but has a subtle kick. The other one had a bit too much going on, I think. At the shower, which involved six food stations paired with six different wines, this was paired with sauvignon blanc. I think they were well-matched. Others said they thought so too, and while I'm not one to just go on words because, duh, I was the hostess, of course people are going to say nice things to me, quite a few folks went back for seconds. So there you have it. It's tasty and goes well with sauvignon blanc.
Fairly substantially adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis
Yield: about 6 servings as a starter
1 medium to large watermelon, coarsely chopped, dark seeds removed (you'll want about 10 cups of chopped watermelon)
1 pint cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about one lime's worth)
1-2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper
Place the watermelon, tomatoes, jalapeño, bell pepper, shallots or onion, olive oil, lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper into a good blender or food processor. (Note: be careful if using food processor. There will be spillage.) Pulse until ingredients are v. finely chopped and starting to liquefy. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional lime juice, salt, and/or pepper. Place the soup in the bowl that you'll be using for chilling. Gently pour the chopped cucumber on top of the soup. Cover and chill for at least two hours, ideally a little longer. Garnish with chopped scallion, cilantro, or mint.
Some notes: The original recipe calls for tomato juice instead of tomatoes and suggests pureeing the soup until it is completely liquified and then (as if that's not enough) pouring it through a sieve. I personally like a chunkier gazpacho, so I didn't do that. But if you want a smoother soup, knock yourself out. The author also suggests adding vodka to the smooth watermelon gazpacho, pouring it over ice, and enjoying it cocktail style. I bet that would be interesting, but I'm not a huge fan of savory cocktails. If I make a watermelon cocktail any time soon, it's going to be this one.
P.S. What was that? You love my China? I do too. It's so pretty! And I need to use it more often. It's Lenox's Engagement pattern. We chose it before our wedding because the display table at Marshall Field's (RIP) was gorgeously set with it. I have yet to recreate that table.