Happy 4th of July to my U.S. readers! Normally the 4th of July is cause for lots of grilling at our annual gathering. However, it’s still Hotter than Blazes here, with no end in sight to the oppressive heat or the drought. And this year, we’ll be huddling near the air-conditioning vents trying to stay cool. It’s still too hot to do much more than eat watermelon and cold soups. The watermelons are especially good right now, so I decided to merge the two in the form of a cold soup. The cool, sweet watermelon combined with the spicy-sweet tang of chiles, strawberries and cilantro offer a satisfying respite from the heat. Enjoy!!
Watermelon Gazpacho with Strawberry Salsa
Soup: Scoop the contents of 1/2 a medium sized watermelon into a bowl or pitcher. Blend with an immersion blender. Or, scoop the contents into a blender and mix in batches. I do NOT recommend using a food processor. The watermelon liquifies pretty quickly and oozes out everywhere.
1 cucumber (abt 1 cup diced)
1/2 large green pepper (about 3/4 cups diced)
1/2 red onion (about 1 cup finely diced)
1 lb of strawberries (rough dice)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (finely diced)you could also use mint
Cut 4 pieces of GF bread into large cubes. Toss in olive oil until the pieces are evenly coated. Place on a cookie sheet (When it’s this hot, I use my toaster oven) and bake at 350 until the pieces are deep golden brown. Stir occasionally. When the bread is done, toss with salt and pepper.
Dice all salsa ingredients and gently mix. Pour watermelon into a bowl and mound a handful of croutons in the center. Spoon a generous amount of salsa over the croutons and drizzle soup with balsamic vinegar if you desire.