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Watermelon gazpacho

A gazpacho, the soup of Spain, is usually a quickly thrown together cold soup, so simple, but so difficult to make well. The beauty in this soup, any version, is it subtle balance of flavors and ingredients.

This version is one that is over the top good, but takes a bit of work. Occasionally I want complexity in flavors and to loose myself in the kitchen. This is one of those recipes, lots of little steps, but the dish was spectacular. This soup is well worth the effort. This gazpacho uses watermelon, so the soup has a touch of sweet that is balanced by the basil and the tomatoes. In addition, the cold soup and frozen granité also add a variation on temperature. The bite of sweet fruit and tart confit tomato petals make this soup fantastic. This is a cookbook that I have been wanting to cook from for a while, and finally this is one of the easiest and most approachable recipes from it. A cookbook for the committed chef, the recipes are amazing. This restaurant is definitely on my bucket list when in London, oh when can we travel again?

Also check out this other recipe for Watermelon gazpacho -- Thai style & and gazpacho sorbet with melted Manouri cheese salad, also on this blog. For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.


J

Ingredients:

For the lime-watermelon granité:

1 lb seedless watermelon, peeled nd seeded, roughly chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon sugar, if needed

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


For the gazpacho:

1 cup tomatoes, super sweet and ripe ones, roughly diced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed and roughly diced

1 tablespoon jalapeño, seeded and sliced

1 young cucumber, with small seeds, peeled completely, roughly diced

1 1/2 lbs seedless watermelon, roughly diced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger or ginger paste

6-8 basil leaves, stems removed

1 cup baguette or French bread

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons EVOO

Salt to taste


For the confit cherry tomato petals:

15 cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt

Sugar


For garnishes

Basil leaves, fine slivers

Cucumber, peeled and micro diced

Watermelon, micro diced

Tomatoes, micro diced


To make the lime-watermelon granité:

Puree all the ingredients till smooth. I generally pass the liquids through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large pieces and seed bits that you may have missed. Make sure to squeeze the pulp through the mesh with a silicone spatula. Freeze in an ice cream machine as per the manufacturers instructions. Remove from the machine when done, scoop into small balls and re-freeze in the freezer till ready to use. I like to freeze them in the shape I want so that I don’t struggle with them later. Note: this granité is not meant to be sweet, like a dessert, just a touch of sweet to accentuate the watermelon in the soup.

To make the gazpacho:

Add all ingredients to a blender and purée till very smooth. Test and make sure that there are no solid bits, if so purée again till done. Taste and adjust spice, basil, salt and vinegar. There should be a balance between all the flavors, no one flavor should over power the other. Allow the soup to come together in the fridge for at least 4 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.

To make the confit cherry tomato petals:

You will need 2-3 per bowl.


Heat oven to 225°F.


Halve the cherry tomatoes and scoop out the insides, setting them apart for the soup. Layer them on a lined baking sheet cut sides up. Sprinkle with some sugar, salt and spray with some olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, move the tomatoes around and bake for another 30-45 minutes till they are shrivelled and dry. Cool and use immediately or store in the fridge for 3 days.


Prepare the garnishes:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside to marinate.

To serve:

Ladle the cold soup into a bowl, top with the garnish and add 2-3 confit tomatoes to the bowl. Add the scoop of garnité and serve immediately.

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