Lagniappe: Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta
As we wind our way to summer's inevitable end, here's a great way to to enjoy the fresh flavors of the farmstand in a chilled soup with a crazy name. Gazpacho is a traditional soup in Spain and Portugal that features raw summer fruits and vegetables that is served chilled. Vine ripened tomatoes and seeded cucumbers are always part of a gazpacho, but watermelon adds a delightful twist. I like to whiz up my ingredients in a blender, like a thick veggie smoothie. If you want to get "fancy", you can puree half of the ingredients, and dice the rest for added texture. A generous topping of crumbled feta cheese adds just the right note of richness and salt. Watermelon season won't last much longer. Make this gazpacho while you still can and relish the last days of summer!
WATERMELON GAZPACHO with FETA CHEESE
1 large fresh tomato, cored and chopped into rough chunks (about 2 cups)
½ jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded (for less heat)
2 cups fresh watermelon, cubed
2 Tablespoons red onion, chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and rough chopped (about 1 cup)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (divided)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
In a blender or food processor, puree tomato, chile, watermelon, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, half the chopped basil, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in crumbled feta cheese. Chill and serve, garnishing with remaining basil and extra feta cheese if desired.