Watermelon Gazpacho

Gazpacho soup is one of those items that we Americans have to make a conscious decision about. To whit: Is soup supposed to be served cold?

For the percentage of us that were exposed to cold soups in our youth, the question is easy to answer – a resounding “Well, it depends on the soup.”

But there are a great many people out there with the belief that soup, regardless of history or tradition, should be served hot, and that anything else is simply a blasphemous tragedy to all things food related.

This is the gist of the argument that was made to me when I served this dish recently. Soup is supposed to be hot, it was said. And there was nothing I could do to convert this person into a cold soup fan.

*shrug* more for me. I’ve been a fan of gazpacho since I was a youngster, when the old Mexican franchise Chi-Chi’s used to offer it (this was before they took off). I was ten years old and thought it the height of the exotic. Now every time I see gazpacho soup on the menu, it takes much to convince me not to order it.

This recipe come from the Boston Globe, which in turn procured it from the Straight Wharf Restaurant.

As a soup, most of the ingredients do not need to be exact, but I will say that using whole tomatoes from the produce section rather than canned will get you a fresher taste to your soup (as long as you purchase good tomatoes of course. Head to your farmers market to up the odds of buying decent ones). And make sure you remove the skin. Tomato skin in gazpacho is just plain wrong.

  • 4 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups watermelon
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Set aside 2 tablespoons tomato, 2 tablespoons watermelon, and 2 tablespoons cucumber for garnish.

In a food processor, combine the remaining tomato, watermelon, and cucumber. Blend until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar. Pulse to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl or plastic pitcher (avoid metal bowls as they may affect the taste of the dish). Stir in the scallions, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and lime juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or vinegar, if you like. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. However, the longer the gazpacho sits, the more the flavors will intermingle with one another.

When serving, top with a bit of the tomato, watermelon and cucumber that you had set aside at the beginning of the recipe.

Serves 8