Saturday, July 23, 2011


Not gazpacho, but cold soup with melon.
  There’s an old country joke, the sort of thing that you tell little kids, that watermelons are completely white inside until the very instant that you cut one open. As you insert the knife, the flesh turns deep red. Magic.

So last week, a watermelon arrived from a friend’s garden that failed to work according to design. We sliced into it and—oh no!—it didn’t turn red! The flesh was white and so were the seeds. It was juicy, but not very sweet. No one wanted to eat pale watermelon.

Pale watermelon--good for soup.
But, I couldn’t bear to throw it out. I first thought about turning it into gazpacho (the recipe for authentic gazpacho with tomatoes is here), but then remembered a Persian recipe for cold cucumber-yogurt soup. Substituting the white watermelon for cucumber, I came up with a wonderful summer soup. We liked it so much that I will try it with red watermelon or with not-too-sweet melon (maybe honeydew). Here’s how.

Cut up enough watermelon (white or red, or honeydew melon) to make about 4 cups. Scoop out the seeds. Puree the flesh with a cup of low-fat plain yogurt (Greek yogurt would be good too), a couple cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and salt to taste.

Chill the soup and serve garnished with strips of serrano ham and sprigs of mint.

Watermelon soup with a garnish of serrano ham and mint.

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