I’ve written about this soup before, but I feel that the praises I sing bear repeating. When I am called upon to make a summertime dinner for a crowd of people, this watermelon gazpacho is usually involved. For example, I made it last August when I was the chef for The Freight. The Freight is a fabulous artist’s residency in Cambridge, NY (click here for more info). These days I’m making it for the Eight Course Vegan Tasting Menu for The Illuminati Ball ,which has been extended through October, should you be interested in attending. For info click here. My family reunion is coming up on Gabriola Island in British Columbia next week, and I’ll probably make it for that gathering as well!
I’m not always a fan of gazpacho. Often, it tastes of too much raw onion and vinegar for my palate. Or worse yet, its bland because it has too much cucumber. This gazpacho has sweetness from the watermelon and is perfectly balanced and refreshing. The secret ingredient is the almond meal, which lends it some creaminess. It bears more of a resemblance to Andalusian Salmorejo which I think is divine. Salmorejo is traditionally thickened and made creamy with stale bread but I have a gluten-free version here.
I’ve never actually posted the recipe though, because it is not mine. I do post other people’s recipes on this blog (with credit of course), but usually I have added some little or large adjustments to ingredients or process. I really, really love this soup made in exactly the way that Aran Goyoaga lays it out in her excellent cookbook Small Plates and Sweet Treats and on her equally excellent food blog Cannelle et Vanille.
I am finally going to go ahead and post the recipe, because upon having made the soup dozens and dozens of times over the last few years I have finally settled on some precise measurements and minor tweaks that I would like to record for my own sake. However, if you just want to go ahead and use the original magical recipe click here. I took these photos last year at the Freight. The pottery was made by Regina Whickham. If anyone is wondering what to get me for my half birthday you can follow this link.
barely adapted from Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga
- 2 cups diced seedless watermelon
- 2 medium very ripe tomatoes *
- 2 or 3 Tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- olive oil for garnish
- Fresh basil for garnish
- A sprinkle of flakey salt, such as Maldone, for garnish
*Often I have tomato juice leftover from other dishes that require you to strain the excess juice out of tomatoes. For example, you should always strain the juice out of the tomatoes for a tomato pie or it will get soggy (the recipe for tomato pie is buried in this post). If you are making Tomato and Eggplant Appetizer with Sweet Moroccan Spices you’ll end up with a bunch of delicious roasted tomato juice. Both of these dishes happen to go very well with this gazpacho if you are trying to plan a complete menu, so it seemed worth mentioning. If you have some leftover tomato juice, you can substitute a one or two cups of it for each tomato. Also, unless you have a really fabulous blender, like a vitamix, or a juicer to process the tomatoes, I recommend peeling them. If the peels don’t get totally broken down they don’t have a great texture. You can find directions for peeling tomatoes here.
Combine all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a blender and process until smooth. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Stir it before serving as it will totally separate! Serve it cold in little glasses or bowls, garnished with olive oil, basil leaves and a little sprinkle of finishing salt!
MORE SUMMER SOUPS!