Why It Works
- Salting the vegetables in advance breaks down their cell walls, extracting more flavor.
- Toasted almonds add texture and body.
- Tangy crema and spicy Calabrian chilies balance the sweetness of the watermelon.
The addition of bright and juicy watermelon to the classic mix of tomato, cucumber, and onion makes this chilled summer soup even more refreshing. The delicate sweetness of the melon is balanced by a Calabrian chili–spiked crema, which adds richness and a touch of heat. To keep the gazpacho extra light, we swap the traditional bread for a handful of toasted almonds, which lend a nutty flavor and creamy texture. For superior flavor, use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find.
- 6 cups watermelon (30 ounces; 840g), roughly diced
- 2 medium tomatoes (14 ounces; 400g), roughly diced
- 1 medium cucumber (14 ounces; 400g), roughly diced
- 1/2 medium red onion (4 ounces; 110g), roughly diced
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds (2 ounces; 60g)
- 1 tablespoon (12g) kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (1 ounce; 30g)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (2 ounces; 60g)
- 1/3 cup crema (2.7 ounces; 75g); see note
- 1 tablespoon (15g) chopped Calabrian chilies
- Additional diced vegetables, for garnish (optional)
In a large bowl, toss together watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, almonds, kosher salt, and pepper. Set aside to marinate for about 1 hour.
In a blender, working in batches, purée vegetables and their liquid until smooth and creamy. Transfer soup to a large bowl. Whisk in sherry vinegar and olive oil and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover soup and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 3 days. When ready to serve, adjust seasoning again with salt and pepper to taste. Combine crema and chopped Calabrian chilies in a small bowl. Ladle chilled soup into bowls and garnish with crema mixture and diced vegetables (if desired).
Blender, mixing bowls, whisk
Crema's lighter body makes it easy to drizzle onto the soup, but anything tangy and cool, like Greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk, can be substituted.