Recipe for watermelon gazpacho
When watermelons take over the produce aisle in my local market, I know it's time for two summer traditions: watermelon soup, and the games we play at cookouts (stick the black seeds on your forehead to see how long they'll stay, or spit the seeds to see whose go the farthest). This watermelon gazpacho, which tastes sweet even though there's not a drop of added sugar in it, starts with seedless watermelon, balanced with the crunch of cucumber and a kick of acid from the vinegar, just like a traditional gazpacho. I can't begin to describe how good this soup tastes, except to tell you that when my friends Betsy and Steve tested the first batch, we all wanted to lick the bowl clean! The recipe, adapted from Eating Well, didn't call for green (jalapeño) Tabasco, but to me it's not a gazpacho without a hint of heat.
Serves 6; can be made one day ahead.
8 cups diced seedless watermelon (approximately 6 pounds with the rind)
1 medium seedless (English) cucumber, finely diced
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp green Tabasco sauce, or more to taste (I use more!)
Fresh black pepper
Place all ingredients in a very large bowl. With a spoon, crush some of the watermelon to release the liquid; it will help get the blending started. Puree with an immersion blender, or in a stand blender or food processor in batches if necessary, to the desired smoothness (I like mine a bit chunky). Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, Tabasco and black pepper.
Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.