Watermelon is a fruit that’s also a vegetable, and ingredient that can be exploited for its watery sweetness as well as its ability to play savoury base to a spicy Watermelon Gazpacho
By Louise Crosby
Most of us can remember eating watermelon as kids – at picnics and barbecues and on waterfront docks. It was cold and sweet, a rite of summer. It didn’t matter if the juice dripped down our chins, all over our arms and onto our shirts, it was fun to eat and no one minded the mess.
Fast forward to the other day when I visited my friend Amanda at her home in the woods bordering Gatineau Park, just across the river in Quebec. A great cook, she served me a delicious lunch in her screened-in porch that started with a bright, refreshing watermelon gazpacho, a Lucy Waverman recipe published in Food and Drink magazine. Yes, there are more refined ways of reliving this childhood memory.
Watermelon, by the way, is apparently both a fruit and a vegetable. It is considered a fruit because it grows from a seed, but it is also a member of the same family as cucumbers, pumpkin and squash. It might strike you as an odd ingredient for gazpacho, too sweet maybe, but sherry vinegar, lime juice, onion and olive oil, and a little splash of Sriracha, work together to turn it into something more savoury. Icy cold from the refrigerator, and topped with a dribble of lime-infused yogurt and mint, it is perfect food for a hot summer day. Make it quick, while the heat is still steaming all around us.
1 seedless watermelon, about 8 cups (2L) or 5 lbs (2.2 kg)
1 tbsp (15 mL) sherry vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) Sriracha
1 cup (250 mL) diced cucumber
1 cup (250 mL) diced red onion, or less to taste
1 cup (250 mL) diced yellow pepper
⅓ cup (80 mL) plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
¼ tsp (1 mL) grated lime zest
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped mint or basil
Puree 6 cups (1.5 L) watermelon in a food processor or blender. Dice remaining watermelon in ¼-inch (5-mm) dice.
Stir in sherry vinegar, lime juice, olive oil and Sriracha. Season with salt to bring out the flavours.
Place in a bowl. Stir in remaining watermelon, cucumber, onion and pepper. Chill well.
Stir yogurt with lime juice and lime zest in a small bowl. Garnish soup with a swirl of yogurt and chopped mint or basil.
For more Louise Crosby recipes, please visit KitchenonFourth.com