This soup is perfection. My little daughter, who is just getting the hang of talking, calls it niiiice soup because apparently I kept saying that as I was eating it. In her new cookbook, A Boat a Whale & a Walrus, chef Renee Erickson gives us this simple, impeccable gem of a recipe that I will make every and all summer forever.
Strong enough rhetoric for ya? It involves nothing more than a ripe summer melon blended with lime juice and zest, a few mint leaves, a bit of yogurt and olive oil, salt and an inspired pinch of cayenne pepper. A little fairy dust, a pass through a strainer, and you have delicate, refreshing, flawlessly balanced soup. The melon is sweet, though kept in check with the lime, and rounded out by oil and yogurt, which is given almost enigmatic back-notes of crispness and heat by the mint and cayenne. Niiiiice.
Why I chose this recipe: I'm done with summer, but not summery food.
What worked: Everything! Everything.
What didn't: This serves six, but only as a small starter. It made about 4 cups (which could vary depending on the size of your melon), and I wanted to slurp down at least a cup at a time myself.
Suggested tweaks: It's not really substantial enough to be a meal on its own anyway, but be aware of how many servings you want to get out of it. And so much rides on the flavor of the melon, make sure you're using a good one.
(c)2014 By Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson. All rights reserved. Excerpted from A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus: Menus and Stories by permission of Sasquatch Books.
- Yield:Serves 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:2 hours 30 minutes
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) sweet summer melon, such as Galia, Crenshaw, or Charentais
- 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Grated zest of 1/2 large lime
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more for seasoning (from about 1 large lime)
- 4 mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen, plus more for seasoning
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
Seed, peel, and chop the melon into 1-inch pieces, then add it (and any juices you can catch) to the work bowl of a heavy-duty blender or food processor. Add the yogurt, oil, lime zest and juice, mint, salt, and cayenne, and blend until smooth and evenly green. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt, if necessary. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer, if desired, then chill for 2 hours. Serve cold, in small bowls or cups.