I have an old email from April 2007 that always makes me smile. It’s from my best friend from high school. She is helping me analyze my new relationship, and also giving me her recipe for gazpacho. What are girlfriends for, right?
Sarah and I met on the first day of 9th grade. I was a new student, and she was assigned to show me around. The summer after our senior year, we both lived and worked on Martha’s Vineyard, and I remember sitting on the beach at night, digging our feet into the sand, and wondering what college would be like. In our twenties we both lived in New York City, where we had annual traditions of seeing Lorrie Moore at the New Yorker Festival and going to Pickle Day on the Lower East Side.
Oh, and that relationship I was obsessing over? It was Alex. Sarah has two little boys now, and I have a picture of her eldest holding hands with Owen last summer that pretty much makes my heart melt into a giant puddle.
But back to that gazpacho. This is what’s called Andalusian gazpacho. It’s smooth and creamy rather than chunky, and it doesn’t have any hot sauce, bell peppers, or jalapeño in it. Cucumber is optional; I usually leave it out.
Sarah makes her gazpacho with all tomatoes, and when I told her I was adapting it with watermelon she was skeptical (“Not sure how I feel about watermelon mixed with tomatoes”). But I hope these photos will convince her–and you. This is quite possibly the best summer soup I’ve ever had.
The watermelon adds a subtle, juicy sweetness to the gazpacho that I think pairs so well with the acid from the tomatoes. The small amount of bread adds body and a luxurious texture. Use baguette if you have it, but really any white bread will do. (Full disclosure: I was out of bread so I actually used half a hot dog bun and it was more than fine.)
This watermelon gazpacho improves with age, so make it at least a day in advance. If you don’t have sherry, leave it out and use sherry vinegar.
- 1 (2-inch) piece of baguette, crust discarded
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 1 pound (about 3 heaping cups) cubed seedless watermelon
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- Croutons, for serving
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Combine the bread and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl and allow to stand for one minute. Squeeze the bread dry. Discard the soaking water.
- In a blender, combine the soaked bread, garlic, salt, sherry, vinegar, and tomatoes and blend until smooth. Add the watermelon and blend until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil. (You may need to do this in batches--pour half of the tomato mixture into a bowl. Blend half of the olive oil into the remaining tomato mixture in the blender, then switch.)
- Chill the soup until very cold, ideally overnight. Serve garnished with croutons, chopped cucumber, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil.