Yes, you read that correctly. Watermelon. In Gazpacho.
If this doesn’t scream SUMMER, I don’t know what does.
My husband often takes his lunch to work and when he brought this out the other day, his co-workers were all, “watermelon what?”
If you need some convincing, let me just tell you that this is one of the best things I’ve made in a long time. It is cool and crisp and seriously tasty.
Unlike regular tomato based Gazpacho, the addition of watermelon really mellows out all of the flavors. You get a nice burst of that sweet and salty thing going on.
Here’s what you need:
Watermelon, Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Jalapeño Pepper, Celery, Cucumber, Lime(s), Parsley, Mint, Basil, White Balsamic (or white wine) Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.
This tastes best if it has at least 1 hour to rest and marinate so plan ahead. Longer is even better.
I have a round seedless watermelon that is about as big as a basketball. $2 at the farm stand. Pays to live close to the watermelon fields out here. Does not pay to get behind a truck full of watermelons (going veeeeerrrry slowly) when you are on your way to orchestra rehearsal.
I used half of my watermelon for this gazpacho or about 8-10 cups. Remove the flesh from the rind and cut most of it into large chunks. Place about 6 cups of melon in the jar of a blender.
Cut about 2 more cups up into small dice and save one more small chunk of watermelon (about 1-2 cups) whole for garnishing. (If you cut it up now, it will get soggy.)
Note: I’m giving amounts here because that’s what you do when you write a recipe, but don’t feel that you have to be precise and measure these ingredients. This is not a soufflé. Eyeball it and you’ll be fine. If you like more of one thing, add it. Don’t like something, leave it out. Taste and adjust to your own preferences.
Finely chop 1 big cucumber, 2 ribs of celery, and 1/4 of a large red onion.
I’m using one of those big English hot house cucumbers so I peeled it but didn’t have to seed it. If you have a regular garden variety cuke, you will want to both peel and seed yours.
Chop up 2 medium tomatoes. I’m using one red and one yellow but 2 regular red tomatoes will be just fine.
If your tomatoes are particularly seedy, give them a gentle squeeze over the garbage to remove some of the bigger, more watery seeds before you chop.
Put all of your chopped vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
Fresh herbs are absolutely the way to go for this dish. If you don’t already grow your own, pick some up at the grocery store produce section, farm stand, or farmer’s market. Dried herbs are not a good substitute here.
Finely chop (shown left to right) 1/4 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh mint, and 1/2 cup fresh parsley and add them to the bowl.
Finely chop 1 yellow bell pepper (any color pepper will do). Remove the seeds and inner membranes from 1 jalapeño pepper and cut it into bigger chunks.
The yellow pepper goes into the bowl with the other veggies and the jalapeño goes into the blender with the watermelon.
Give the blender a quick whirl to chop up and liquify the watermelon and jalapeño.
How about that for a funky smoothie? Maybe not.
Pour the watermelon juice you’ve just created into the bowl of veg.
Add the juice of 1-2 limes (I used 2), 2 Tablespoons of white balsamic or white wine vinegar, and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
Stir it all together…
then scoop out 2 cups of the veggies and juice from the bowl and put them back into the blender.
Give them a whirl to liquify and add it back to the gazpacho.
I do this extra blending step because my gazpacho does not have the traditional “slurry” made from bread as a thickener. That makes this safe for Gluten Free people.
Season with salt and pepper – a very generous teaspoon of each, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour. If you have more time to chill this, the flavor will only improve.
When you are ready to serve, double check the seasonings. I added more salt, pepper, and a dash more vinegar.
Take the reserved chunk of watermelon and cut a few wedges for garnish.
Cut the rest into small dice like you did at the very beginning and stir the freshly diced watermelon into the soup. Adding this little bit of extra watermelon at the very end boosts the flavor and makes sure that there are good watermelon chunks right on top.
This is good stuff. Trust me.
Trust Jim who, for the record, did not share his lunch.
All the flavors of summer in one bowl!
Here’s the recipe:
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