Who goes and puts honeydew melon in a soup, right? Sounds bizarre. If you feel the same way, I wouldn’t blame you. But..I like bizarre. And this gazpacho is kind of just that.
I’ve tried very hard to visually capture the exact texture of this soup, but I’m not sure if I’ve done a good enough job at it. Have you ever tried making honeydew melon, mango or even papaya juice? They blend well and get velvety and smooth, but it’s not the same consistency as you’d find in say, watermelon juice. It’s pulpier. That’s what the consistency of this gazpacho is like. It’s denser than any other soup I’ve made – even withstood the cucumber slices that I used as garnish!
Traditionally, gazpacho was made by hand pounding green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. Stale bread soaked in water is a popular addition, which purists claim to be the ‘superior’ version. This is the kind that you’d most likely encounter in Andalusia (south of Spain), which also happens to be where this dish originates from. But as is the case with the evolution of food habits, people living in other areas came up with their own intra-regional versions of the gazpacho with the ingredients that they had ready access to, and tweaking it to fit their palates. Some would make them without the bread, while white gazpachos have no tomatoes; they have pine nuts or almonds instead. There are now over hundreds, if not thousands of variations for it!
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just a glorified smoothie. It does look like it, doesn’t it? Sautéed onions and garlic with a kick of chilli form its base, before the fresh melon and cucumbers are added in. I would strongly recommend a dash of fiery Tabasco over the top for that extra pizazz! Summery, velvety, bizarre..all pulverized together to give you this perfect chilled soup.
INGREDIENTS : (Serves 4)
Adapted from http://www.thehealthyfoodie.com
½ a honeydew melon, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized cucumbers (skin left on), roughly chopped
1 green chilli
6 mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Add olive oil to a small pan and sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Pour white wine and let it bubble away for 3 – 5 minutes on a low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
Add the chopped honeydew melon, cucumbers, chilli, mint leaves, salt and pepper, along with the onion mixture in a blender and pulverize until smooth. Thin it out with chilled water to suit your consistency.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Divide into serving bowls and garnish with cucumber slices and mint. Serve chilled.