Cold Honeydew and Cucumber Soup

23 Jul

Beatrice Peltre is a French food stylist, photographer and blogger based in Boston. Her blog, La Tartine Gourmande, is one of the prettiest out there–all edible flowers, dripping berry juices and soft linens on whitewashed barnwood, with images of countryside, plant life and a beautiful toddler thrown in.

Peltre tends to create dishes with a French twist–tatins, timbales, and of course tartines (open-faced sandwiches to you and me). She uses garden-fresh ingredients and substitutes refined white flour for gluten-free alternatives such as quinoa, rice and millet flours. Everything she makes is as good for you as it is exquisite.

I just tried two recipes from Peltre’s new book, La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, which is based on the blog.

The first was Cold Honeydew and Cucumber Soup. A smooth blend of melon, cucumber, lime and basil, it was the most refreshing and delicately flavoured thing you could imagine eating on a hot summer’s day. Thanks to the accompaniment of skewered mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and melon balls, you don’t end up hungry within half an hour of lunching on this soup.

Depending on how juicy your limes are, you may want to add the juice of one more for a little extra zing. The recipe calls for seeding the cucumber; I was a little too lazy for that, but I don’t think the soup suffered. I also just used honeydew and watermelon for the balls. It would have been pretty to include orange cantaloupe too, but I have a tiny fridge and leftovers from three melons would have left it jam-packed. And final change: I went with plain old green basil. Purple would have been truly gorgeous, but I have green in my garden and preferred to use what I had to hand.

Here’s the recipe:

1 pound, 7 oz (650 g) honeydew melon flesh, diced
1 long English cucumber (300 g; 10 & 1/2 oz), peeled, cut in half, seeded and diced
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 1 large orange or 1/4 cup (125 mL) apple juice
Juice of 1 lime
15 purple or African blue basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, plus more for drizzling

For the skewers:
6 mini mozzarella balls
1/4 honeydew melon
1/4 watermelon, seeded
1/4 cantaloupe melon
Purple basil leaves
3 slices of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
Pepper

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the honeydew, cucumber, shallot, orange/apple and lime juices and basil leaves and pulse into a fine puree. Season with sea salt and pepper and stir in the oil. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, until chilled.

2. To prepare the skewers: Use a melon scoop to shape small balls of mozzarella, honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe. On each skewer, alternate the following ingredients, adding a basil leaf between each: 2 balls of cantaloupe, 1 ball of watermelon, 1 ball of honeydew, and 2 balls of mozzarella wrapped in half a slice of prosciutto. Season with pepper.

3. to serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls or small glasses and drizzle with oil. Serve with the skewers.

From La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, by Beatrice Peltre, Roost Books, 2012

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I also tried the Nutty Maple and Vanilla Granola. Find the recipe here.

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