Cold melon soup with Rosemary
As you’re probably aware the middle of the US is currently in a heat wave… in July we had 15 days over 100F! I’ve been trying to come up with light cold soups for the summer. I decided to skip Vichyssoise because it just seemed a little heavy with all of the cream and potatoes. I might make it once it cools off a little though. I’ve made gazpacho, and a very nice cold roasted pepper soup. The other day I decided to make a melon soup. Served chilled it is sweet, light and refreshing. Frequently in soups like this the addition of some herbs will add some complexity to a rather plain, but very tasty soup. I’ve used mint and basil before, but after thinking about a cocktail I had at my brother’s wedding I decided to take a shot with rosemary. (In that case it was lemonade and vodka with a sprig of fresh rosemary, very tasty, and the rosemary balanced the sweetness of the lemonade very nicely.) This soup will be very easy, and also vegan!
The only real equipment you will need is a blender/food processor and a bowl.
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
juice and zest of one lime
splash of white wine (optional)
sprig fresh rosemary
The first thing you will want to do is combine the water, sugar and lime in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
While the liquid is cooling peel your melons, and cut them into pieces that are small enough to fit into your blender. The easiest way to peel a melon is to cut off the stem end and the blossom end. This will give you flat spots to steady the melon while you peel it. Using your chef’s knife slice down the side of the melon following the curve. You want to make sure you get all of the peel. In this case it is pretty easy to know you have it right when you cut off all of the green.
Once you’ve peeled the melons split them in half. Scoop out the seeds, and then cut the melon into pieces. Place the half of the melon in the blender with some of the water mixture, and puree. You’re going to have to taste this to decide if it is too sweet, or not sweet enough. When you blend the second half you can adjust the sweetness of the soup by adding more or less of the sugar syrup. Hold a little bit back just in case you need to adjust. Transfer the soup to a bowl, and taste it again. (Add the wine now if you are using it, the acid will brighten up the flavors a bit.) Once you have the soup as sweet as you would like you can turn your attention to the rosemary. Set the whole sprig on your cutting board and use the back of a skillet to gently smash it. This will leave it intact, but release more of the oil into the soup. Then simply place the rosemary in the bowl with the soup, and make sure it is submerged. Allow the soup to cool in the fridge and serve in chilled bowls. Maybe top it with a dollop of sour cream for garnish? Eat it just like it is.
This is a very simple soup, but it is very tasty, and very refreshing for a hot summer day.