Watermelon and Mint Gazpacho
One of the best things to enjoy on a hot summer day is a cold watermelon. What could be better? Sweet, crisp, refreshing, red and noutritious.
My dear husband sees it as a personal failure to when the watermelon we bring home reveals itself as a pinkish disappointment that tastes more like a cucumber.
Alas, there’s no fail-proof method, but I can offer a few tips for selecting a good watermelon:
- Tapping: Tap the watermelon with the pads of your fingers. A winning watermelon will typically have a slight hollow sound, more like the sound you get when tapping your head rather than tapping your chest.
- The yellow spot: At the bottom of the watermelon – where it rested on the ground – you want to find a yellow or cream-colored spot. If the spot is still white, the watermelon isn’t ripe.
- Hardness: Press your fingers and thumbs into the watermelon’s skin. A good one should be hard all around, with no soft spots.
- Heaviness: A good watermelon feels heavy for its size.
I’ve been using these methods for years. Still, I have to admit I’m not convinced that digging through the watermelon bin, tapping and inspecting, yields a better watermelon than randomly picking the first watermelon your hand touches with your eyes closed. I occasionally end up with disappointing watermelons no matter how hard I try. I do not see it as a personal failure :)
But here's some good news: a not-so-sweet watermelon makes a wonderful and easy-to-prepare cold soup. The cucumber in the recipe masks the cucumberness of the not-so-great watermelon. It looks like a gazpacho, but is even more refreshing.
Watermelon and mint cold soup
- 6 cups seedless watermelon, diced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, minced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup young celery stalks, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Puree the watermelon in a food processor, using the “pulse” setting; pulse several times until the watermelon is still chunky and not too smooth.
Transfer the puree to large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until cold (at least an hour).
Garnish with a few leaves of fresh mint and serve.
Enjoy, Dr. Ayala