Cold Melon Summer Soup

Cold Melon Summer Soup came about after having recently tasted something like this in Alicante.  Marisa and the Zen River Madrid group had invited me to join them for a couple of days and Baruc had prepared it for a late lunch. It was divine; a sort of Ajo Blanco. The recipe intrigued me, almost as much as it did our Spanish contingent. Two weeks later my version of the same said soup, but sans garlic and a little more melon than the former, landed in the oryoki bowls of Zen River Temple. It was just a wee pity the weather was not as accommodating as the Mediterranean 🙁

Since we made this during a sesshin, several people have asked after the recipe. So here goes.

Melon Gazpacho
Cold Melon Summer Soup

Ingredients

600 g (3½ cups) when diced; very ripe honeydew melon or Spanish canary melon. (About one 1 kg {2 pounds} honeydew melon or half a Spanish canary melon)
200 g (1⅓ cups) muscat (or other green, seedless) grapes
200 g (1⅓ cups) raw blanched almonds
500 ml (2 cups) water
125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Method

  • With a sharp knife, cut away the top and bottom of the melon and then cut away the peel from the sides being sure to get under the woody part of the skin. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Rub the seeds through a fine mesh sieve to release any extra juice and set the juice aside. Discard the seeds.
  • Roughly dice the melon.
  • Pluck the grapes from the vine, reserving a quarter (50 g) as garnish.

  • First blend the grapes using an immersion blender or food processor, then rub through a sieve to separate the peels from the pulp. Combine with the reserved melon juice extracted from the seeds.
  • Put the almonds and one cup of water together in a food processor and blend well. Continue to blend while adding the olive oil in a slow and steady stream.
  • Next, put in the diced melon, the second cup of water, the grape and melon seed pulp, and keep blending until smooth. Add a little more water or oil as needed.
  • Season with salt and a trace of balsamic or sherry vinegar.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • Cut the reserved grapes into halves and garnish the soup with them before serving.

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