Watermelon Gazpacho

For the second time in two years, our vegan friend Josie would come from Beijing for overnight at our place before she carries on to another Philippine island to swim/dive. And for the second time, we’ve made her watermelon gazpacho. It’s pretty easy to make, very refreshing and keeps well in the fridge.


For the basil oil:
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the gazpacho:
1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped cored tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped seedless watermelon
3 cups large-dice crustless day-old country bread
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar – we’ve used ordinary vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the garnish:
1/2 cup small-dice cucumber (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup small-dice seedless watermelon

For the basil oil:
Process the basil and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

For the gazpacho:
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Working in batches, process the mixture in a clean blender until smooth. Transfer the puréed soup to a large, nonreactive bowl. Taste and season with salt as needed.

For the garnish:
Combine the cucumber and watermelon in a small bowl.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the cucumber and watermelon mixture, and drizzle with the basil oil.

Beverage pairing: This dish pairs well with a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Spanish Albariño.

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