Watermelon Gazpacho (saved my life)

Watermelon Gazpacho

A great summer soup for a crowd.

makes a shit ton of gazpacho

This soup is frankly a lot of work.  A lot of chopping and dicing. I use pecans to give this recipe heft instead of the bread crumbs in a traditional gazpacho.  This makes it gluten-free and raw although I would love to try this with toasted hazelnuts or pistachios some day.  Just sayin’.

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

  • 1 head of Cilantro
  • 1 head of Basil
  • 1 head of Mint
  • 1/2 + Cups of Pecans (or walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Half inch piece of Jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup plus of good Olive Oil

Separate the Herbs from their stalks and give the leaves a couple of chops to reduce their volume and make them more manageable.  Place the herbs in a food processor.  Chop your Jalapeno piece in half and perhaps your garlic too if they are large. Pour the pecans and the other dry ingredients in the processor.  Pulse the mixture slowly, stopping often and adding oil as you go.  The result should be a light mince of all the ingredients.  Don’t be afraid to open up the top of the processor and move things along with a long wooden spoon. If you have no processor you can mince all the ingredients together with a large knife.

 

For the soup :

  • 1 Onion (yellow or red)
  • 3 Stalks of Celery
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Cucumber
  • 1 Small seedless Texas Watermelon
  • 11/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Celery Seed
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Good Olive Oil to Garnish
  • 2 Cups Ice

 

You are going to have to dice each ingredient.  I like to start with the onions. Dice them to about 1/4 of an inch. Do the same to the Celery. Try to get your dice as small and uniform as you can. When it comes to the cucumber I shave off strips of the peel but not all of it.  I like the color.  As I go I am collecting the diced vegetables into the largest bowl or bowls that I have in my kitchen. I work my way up to the watermelon which is the messiest part.  Be ready with bowls or trays to lay the pieces of the watermelon as you work it. You can also place towels under and around your chopping block to help with the water.  Or you could chop the watermelon on a large sheet pan and collect the juice.

Chop off the ends of the watermelon with a large chefs knife. Set the watermelon on one cut end so it resembles a barrel.  Carve the Peel of the watermelon from the flesh working from top to bottom using your large chef knife. Carve all the peel from the watermelon leaving a red barrel of watermelon.  Cut the watermelon in two and put one half aside. Dice Half of the watermelon and place it with the rest of the diced vegetables.

The other half of the watermelon should then be chopped into rough pieces and added to a blender.  Blend all of the watermelon into watermelon juice and add it to the bowl (or bowls).

The funny thing about this recipe is that it is not an exact science.  Watermelons, onion and the like vary in sweetness and tang. Sometimes if the soup is too chunky I will liquidate part of the soup and add that liquid back, or add more vinegar or both.  I have been known to add a little agave nectar but I’m not proud of it. When you taste the soup before you add the ice, it should punch you in the face.  As the ice melts it will mellow.  Be very careful about garlic in this soup. The soup will stay good for about 5 days but with each passing day the flavor of garlic will get more intense so keep it down.

 

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