Watermelon Gazpacho

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When you’ve had your fill of fresh sliced watermelon–if that’s even possible, try this very-refreshing gazpacho concoction as a first course soup, or, as a party “shooter.” I trimmed this recipe down from a version Chef Travis Bensink does for crowds at Heirloom restaurant in Chautauqua, NY. It’s really easy to make: Just chop the vegetables, scoop the flesh from half of the melon and blend all together in a large, non-reactive bowl with an immersion blender, adding the olive oil in a slow stream and adjusting the salt/pepper/vinegar seasonings to taste at the end. Pour it all into a fine-mesh strainer to remove all of the pulp for a very-refined, beautifully colored and nicely bodied silky soup.

I brought home one of those beautiful, round, so-dark-green-they’re-almost-black seedless watermelons from the farmers market and made the gazpacho to serve at a party as shooters, and also served it at home as soup.  For the shooters, cut a small slice from the left-over half of the melon and trim it into mini wedges to slip over the rims of your shooter glasses.  Adorable.

Makes 8 to 10 bowl-fuls; or, 40 "shooters"

Watermelon Gazpacho Ingredients

  • 8 cups cubed watermelon (1/2 of a dark-green-skinned, round, seedless watermelon about 13-inches long 26-inches in diameter
  • 2 lbs ripe homegrown (or store-bought campari) tomatoes
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup 50/50 olive/vegetable oil blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped; plus extra for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill sprigs; plus extra for garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Watermelon slice cut into tiny wedges for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make gazpacho: Cut watermelon in half. Reserve half of the watermelon for another use, in the refrigerator. Remove all of the pink flesh in the remaining half of the watermelon to a large, non-reactive bowl. Add sliced cucumber, tomatoes, jalapeno, onion and dill. Pulverize with an immersion blender until all is quite smooth. Stir in red-wine vinegar starting with 2 Tbsp and then adding more to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour gazpacho through a fine mesh strainer, pressing juice through. Discard pulp. Place strained liquid in a large container and refrigerate until very cold.
  2. To serve: If serving as “shooters” Cut a small slice from remaining half of watermelon. Cut into tiny wedges. Push a wedge onto the rim of each shooter glass. Fill with gazpacho and serve. If serving as soup: Carefully pour or ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with tiny watermelon slices on rim of bowls, a little finely chopped cucumber and sprigs of dill.

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