Max and Eli Sussman's Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho [Photograph: Alex Farnum]

While many tomato gazpachos could easily be mistaken for watery salsa, this watermelon version from This is a Cookbook is anything but. Max and Eli Sussman blend together freshly strained watermelon juice with a rich, thickening mixture of almonds, bread, onion, bell peppers, and olive oil to create a vibrantly red, totally slurp-able, tail end of summer appetizer. It's a little on the sweet side, sure, but that's easily fixable with a drizzle of hot sauce and squirt of lemon.

Why I picked this recipe: A refreshing chilled soup seemed the best way to bid adieu to summertime.

What worked: Technique-wise the recipe worked well, and the combination of bread, almonds, and fruit lend a full-bodied texture to a soup that is often thin and boring.

What didn't: The recipe calls for "one watermelon" but does not specify size. I bought a medium-sized melon and had tons of extra fruit. If you're not looking for leftovers, buy the smallest melon you can find. I also found the soup too sweet on its own; a little lemon juice and hot sauce added needed balance.

Suggested Tweaks: This gazpacho could be made with any number of melons (or a combination). A hot fresh chile would be nice in there as well. Finally, since you're straining out the juice anyway, you could absolutely make this with a more-flavorful seeded watermelon (if you can find one at your farmer's market).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of This is a Cookbook to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at

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