Summer, Light Meals, Soup

Watermelon Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold soup that's made for hot weather, and I really think this is the best recipe ever. It's perfect for those days when you can barely think about eating, but are looking for something cool, savoury and refreshing.

The watermelon here is optional, but highly recommended, as it gives the soup a subtle sweetness that's balanced by the sherry vinegar.

I don't add bread to my recipe, as some people do, opting instead for some homemade croutons to finish, which add a lovely crunch. Little nuggets of cool cucumber also add some welcome texture.

Feel free to adorn this soup however you like - in the past, I've added diced leftover veg and watermelon, crumbled feta (preferably plant-based) and herbs such as basil or dill.

What gives this soup its bright-orange colour, as opposed to red, is the large quantity of extra virgin olive oil, which emulsifies as you blend it in.

And of course, the biggest bonus of this recipe is that no cooking whatsoever is required.

SERVES:
Makes approx 1.5 litres- serves 8-12

Ingredients

For the soup

200-300g watermelon, roughly diced (optional)

800g ripe tomatoes, roughly diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly diced

1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly diced

1 small white onion, peeled and roughly diced

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

2 tsp sherry vinegar

1-2 tsp sea salt

250ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

To serve (optional)

Croutons, preferably homemade

Fresh herbs, such as basil or dill

Crumbled feta, preferably vegan

Diced cucumber, green pepper, white onion and watermelon

Instructions

1. Using a hand- or stand-blender, blend the watermelon, if using, the vegetables, and the garlic together at high speed until very smooth. This should take around 2-3 mins. If you're using a hand blender, make sure you use a deep enough bowl – you can do this in batches, if necessary.

2. With the machine still running, add the vinegar and sea salt, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will gradually turn bright orange, and become smooth and emulsified. If it still seems a little watery, drizzle in more olive oil until the texture becomes creamy.

3. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pushing all the liquid through with a spoon or the back of a ladle – if you've blended the soup enough, this should be fairly easy. Discard any bits left behind in the sieve.

4. Pour the soup into a large glass jug or glass bottles, using a funnel if you have one, and chill until very cold – at least 6 hours or overnight. In an airtight bottle, the soup will keep for a few days.

5. When you're ready to serve, season the soup to taste with salt and sherry vinegar, then divide between glass tumblers, if you have some – I like to chill them first.

6. Garnish with your choice of of toppings, including croutons, fresh herbs, crumbled feta, diced veg and watermelon, then finish with a final drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

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