Water Melon Gazpacho

An international favorite this one was. Not just because of the taste but because the colour was blooming amazing. The August heatwave was still in full throttle so a chilled soup was most definitely in order.

Sitting zazen in the sweltering heat for sesshin were participants from twelve nationalities, including quite a few members from Spain (who found it considerably cooler than in Madrid by the way). I wondered how they would feel about this recipe considering they’re all expert gazpacho makers? There were about fifteen litres of soup prepared, a couple of litres more than needed to serve forty so it was probably going to be way too much. Just as well. Barely one litre made it back to the kitchen as I heard almost everyone in the zendo took seconds…

Ingredients

1¼ kg (6 cups) chunks of ripe seedless watermelon
            (about one medium-sized watermelon)
500 g (2 cups) vine-ripe tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons red onion, minced, or to taste
¼ clove garlic, or to taste
18 fresh mint leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
60 g (½ cup) raw unsalted cashew nuts or peeled white almonds
¼ teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
80 ml  (1/3 cup) virgin olive oil

Method

  • Check to see if the watermelon is ripe by tapping it. It should sound hollow. If so, cut the watermelon first in half, then into thick slices. Trim the pink flesh from the white rind and cut into chunks until you have 1¼ kg of prepared watermelon (about 6 cups). Discard the rind.
  • Prick the tomatoes with a sharp knife and place in a heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiling water and wait for the peel to split, anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, depending on the size and ripeness of the tomatoes. Drain, peel, and cut into quarters.
  • Peel and mince the red onion.
  • Peel and press the garlic.
  • Combine the watermelon chunks, tomatoes, red onion, garlic, mint leaves, balsamic vinegar, cashew nuts or almonds, and chili powder. Whizz until smooth either in a food processor or using an immersion blender.
  • Next, whizz and drizzle in the olive oil until blended smooth.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge before serving.

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