End of Summer Gazpacho

It is Gazpacho season in many parts of the world and last week it came to Seattle.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

In nearly 20 years of Northwest living I’ve served cold soup twice – once last Saturday. The thermometer was crawling into the 80s, toasty for my soon-to-arrive  guests. I seized the opportunity to capture the essence of end-of-summer produce in a refreshing, chilled soup.

Ingredients were at my fingertips. A generous neighbor had delivered three fat, vine-ripened beefsteak tomatoes and a selection of hot and sweet peppers from Krueger Pepper Gardens. A watermelon and honeydew were taking up too much real estate in my fridge. I opened the August, 2014 issue of Bon Appetit magazine (Reference 1) and saw a recipe called Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema.

Growing up in California my mom had a go-to Gazpacho recipe I helped make many times for summer parties. This time I wanted something lighter and fresher to launch my dinner. Traditional gazpacho recipes, while cold, can be substantial, with soaked bread and a big douse of olive oil.

I adapted the Bon Appetit recipe to my taste and ingredients, including substituting honeydew for cucumber. It was a reasonable choice as they are botanical relatives, in the family of cucurbitaceae that includes melons, cucumbers, squash and some gourds. (Reference 2)

I topped the soup with mint,  Marcona almonds and more diced honeydew melon. Alongside I served thin slices of toasted olive bread, brushed with garlic oil and topped with shavings of Manchego cheese.

Gazpacho, known as a Spanish specialty, has ancient roots. A Wikipedia post states it may have originally been an Arab creation, brought to Spain and Portugal with the Moors; another theory is that it was brought by the Romans. (Reference 3)

In the book Recipes from a Spanish Village, the author Pepita Aris (Reference 4) says Gazpacho dates back to pre-Roman times and was originally not well regarded: “foreigners looked down on it as a provincial dish.” The word caspa means “remains” in Italian and acho is considered derogatory, she explains. Appreciation grew over time as the recipe evolved and peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers were included. Gazpacho recipes vary according to the region and the cook and include hot and cold versions.

If you’re facing Indian summer weather and a bounty of beautiful produce, nothing can be easier – or tastier – than whirling ingredients  in a blender for a no-cook, chilled Gazpacho.

Tomato-Melon Gazpacho

Adapted from Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema in Bon Appetit magazine, August 2014 p. 72. by Susan Spungen. A spark from hot pepper is essential to balancing the tomato-melon flavors. Peppers vary in heat so taste the soup and add according to your palate.

3 cups peeled, chopped, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
3 cups chopped red seedless watermelon
2 cups chopped honeydew melon
½ to 1 chopped hot pepper such as jalapeno or serrano
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnishes: fresh mint, diced melon, chopped roasted and lightly salted Marcona almonds

Blend soup in two batches in a blender or food processor: Combine half of tomatoes, melons, pepper, oil and vinegar in blender or food processor container; whirl until smooth, stopping to scrape down side of container as needed. Pour into a bowl. Repeat process with remaining half of ingredients and stir into the same bowl. Adjust oil and vinegar amounts and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover bowl and chill for several hours or until cold. Serve in chilled bowls with desired garnishes. Makes 6 servings

1. Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Crema, by Susan Spungen, Bon Appetit Magazine, August 2014.
2..Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbitaceae
3. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazpacho
4. Recipes from a Spanish Village by Pepita Aris, Simon and Schuster, 1990.
© 2014 Lorelle Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


  1. Shiver me timbers, them’s some great ininrmatfoo.


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