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Cucumber and watermelon gazpacho with almonds and basil

Chilled soups are what keep me cool in the Hyderabad summer. They are both refreshing and nutritious. This soup is no exception.

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish soup that usually contains tomatoes and basil. However, newer contemporary versions of this soup have emerged from some of the greatest chefs and it brings a wide variety to this traditional soup. Also check out the recipe for Watermelon gazpacho -- Thai style & and gazpacho sorbet with melted Manouri cheese salad on this blog.

This soup is about subtle balanced flavors. The sweet watermelon is made nutty and creamy with the almonds and scented with basil. The flavors are in balance and work beautifully together.

This book tends to hide in my collection and whenever I see it I tend to find a wonderful recipe in it. Most recipes are simple to make but the dishes are spectacular. Cal is an expert in designing dishes that are fabulous, and like this soup, unique. I love the way he combines flavors, textures and colors for a dish that stuns. I should be cooking from here and his other cookbooks more often.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.



Ingredients:

1/4 cup whole almonds

3-4 tablespoons water

Salt, to taste


3 cups watermelon cubes, seeded

2 cucumbers, peeled and cubed

2 scallions

15-20 basil leaves

1 cup crustless white bread

Juice of 1 lime

Salt, to taste


Basil buds to garnish

Olive oil, to drizzle,

Slivered almonds, to garnish

Minced watermelon and cucumber, to garnish


Blanch the almonds by boiling them in water for 3 minutes. Cool and slip off the skins. Set a few aside for garnish. To the remaining purée to a smooth thick sauce in a blender. Set aside to chill in the fridge. The whole almonds remaining, sliver finely and set aside.


Micro dice 1/2 a cucumber and an equal volume of the watermelon. Mix and set aside.


Meanwhile separately blend the watermelon, cucumbers, spring onions, basil, bread and lime juice till very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside in the the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.


To serve, Add a ladle of the watermelon gazpacho and top with 2 tablespoons of the almond purée. Garnish with the basil, almonds and watermelon-cucumber dice. Serve chilled.

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