Summer Watermelon Gazpacho

Menu Part: 
Soup
Cuisine Type: 
Spanish
Serves: 
6

Executive Chef Josh Martin
University of California at Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Gazpacho, the Spanish cold soup, makes many menu appearances during the summer months. The classic is a tomato-based blend flavored with garlic and thickened with bread, but many variations have evolved using other vegetables and even fruits. At University of California at Santa Cruz, Executive Chef Josh Martin creates a watermelon gazpacho, incorporating the fruit of the large red melon that is especially abundant in summer.

Ingredients

Gazpacho
24 oz. watermelon
8 oz. tomatoes. seeded
5 oz. red bell peppers, seeded
5 oz. white onion
4 oz. cucumber, peeled
1 oz. garlic, peeled
1 oz. jalapeno, seeded
1 oz sherry
½ oz. fresh basil
3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste

Basil oil
3 oz. fresh basil leaves
3 qt. olive oil
1 oz. salt
Crème fraiche, as needed

Steps

1. Wash watermelon, remove rind and coarsely chop two thirds of the flesh. Finely dice remaining watermelon and set aside.
2. Coarsely chop tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and cucumber.
3. In blender container, combine coarsely chopped watermelon with chopped vegetables, garlic, jalapeno, sherry and basil; blend until pureed by still chunky. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Season to taste with salt.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (This can be made the day ahead; best used within two days.)
5. Prepare basil oil: Blanch basil leaves in medium pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Rinse with cold water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
6. Blend oil with blanched basil. Season with salt to taste. Allow to sit for 24 hours; strain before using, if desired.
7. For service, ladle gazpacho into chilled bowls or iced glasses. Garnish with reserved finely diced watermelon; add a few dots of basil oil and a drizzle of crème fraiche.

Photo courtesy of National Watermelon Board
 

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