Thursday, July 28, 2016

Watermelon Gazpacho

In the midst of a heat wave the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven. Second only in kitchen aversion is using my stove. We don't have central AC in this tiny apartment, and so turning on the oven is akin to turning the entire kitchen into a sauna, and not the good kind. The ambient heat, having sapped my will to live, has come into conflict with my gluttonous desire to eat good food. Cold food is a must for these steamy days. Fortunately, both tomatoes and watermelon are in season.

Tomato and watermelon are surprisingly good together. This recipe, based on one by Anya von Brezmen, is surprisingly sparse on ingredients, for a gazpacho, but is perfect for hot summer nights. I think it works better as an appetizer, or aperitif, but it can pass as a light supper when served with cold sandwiches. Make sure you get fresh, juicy melons and tomatoes for this dish, and don't forget the celery. It's heightens the flavors and really brings things together. Don't worry, my friends. Flavorful refreshment is on the way.

Makes 4 servings.
Takes  10 minutes to make, and at least 2 more hours to chill.

4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon, about 1 1/4 lbs
1 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil, more for dizzling
2 Tbl lemon juice, or more to taste
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp Salt. more as needed
1/4 ground black pepper, or more, to taste
Thin celery sticks for garnish

Working batches, puree all of the ingredients except the garnish in a blender for at least two minutes, until smooth and frothy. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed to make the flavor pop. Transfer to a bowl and chill for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. Serve in individual bowls or mugs, garnishing with celery sticks. If there are any leftovers, which there probably won't be, they'll keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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