Sunday, May 13, 2012

Creamy Melon Gazpacho with Goat Cheese, Melon and Almond Toasts: Cool and Fruity for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

In addition to cookbook hoarding, I also receive an obscene amount of magazines each month. Out of all of those magazines, Vegetarian Times is the one I look forward to seeing the most. It just seems like recipes get even more creative when the meat comes out of them, and I always find something inside the covers that I want to make. I think they can read my mind too. I was trying to decide on a soup for this week and started thinking about fruit soup, maybe something with melon. The next day my June issue arrived with a recipe for Creamy Melon Gazpacho.

Seeing the recipe for Goat Cheese, Melon and Almond Toasts in the same article on cantaloupe, and having some leftover goat cheese from this delicious pesto, I knew I had to make both recipes for a perfect warm weather pairing. If you haven't tried a fruit soup before, or are leery of cold soups, melon gazpacho is a great place to start. Melon isn't too sweet and pairs well with smoky and savory flavors. Cantaloupe is full of vitamins A and C, potassium and beta-carotene, so it's a healthy choice. 

VT says, “Spanish cooks love to combine sweet and savory elements in tapas and appetizers. Here, the sweetness of cantaloupe and sherry is balanced with shallot, lemon, and a light dusting of smoked paprika.” 

Creamy Melon Gazpacho
Vegetarian Times, June 2012
(Serves 6)

2 oz crusty bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 lb cantaloupe, peeled and diced (from 1/2 large melon)
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
1 large shallot, minced (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
smoked paprika, for sprinkling

Pour 1 1/2 cups cold water over bread in bowl. Set aside 10 minutes to soak.

Blend softened bread and water in blender until smooth. Add cantaloupe , cucumber, shallot, sherry, oil, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

Strain through fine sieve for smooth consistency, if desired, and discard solids. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Chill 2 hours or overnight. Serve sprinkled with smoked paprika.

Nutritionals: (Per 1-Cup Serving): 153 calories, 2g protein, 9g total fat, (1g sat fat),  15g carbs, 0mg cholesterol, 86mg sodium, 1g fiber, 6g sugars

VT says, “Topping these toasts with thin, petal-like ribbons of cantaloupe makes the hors d’oeuvres easy to eat and prevents them from getting soggy with fruit juice.

Goat Cheese, Melon, and Almond Toasts
Vegetarian Times, June 2012
(Makes 12 Toasts)

1/2 cup smoked almonds
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 lb cantaloupe, peeled (from 1/3 melon)
4 oz soft goat cheese
12 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty bread, such as baguette, toasted

Pulse almonds and paprika in food processor until almonds are coarsely chopped.

Shave cantaloupe into thin slices using vegetable peeler.

Spread goat cheese on toast slices. Top with melon slices, and sprinkle with chopped almond mixture.

Nutritionals (Per Toast) 97 calories, 5g protein, 5g total fat, (2g sat fat),  10g carbs, 4mg cholesterol, 146mg sodium, 1g fiber, <1g sugars

Notes/Results: The soup is cool, creamy and refreshing. It is lightly sweet without being overpowering, and the cantaloupe flavor really comes through. I let it chill overnight in the fridge to let the flavors blend and it tasted great as lunch on a warm day. The recipe recommended sprinkling it with smoked paprika, but since I had plenty of leftover smoky almond-paprika topping from the toasts, I used that and it was perfect. (On a side note, that smokehouse almond-paprika topping also brings smashed avocado on toast to an even more sublime level with its smoky crunch--just saying...) The toasts were lovely--the combination of the very thin cool melon and tangy goat cheese on warm baguette with the crunchy savory topping was so well balanced. The cantaloupe I used was very juicy, so I patted the thin slices down between paper towels to make them completely dry. Together the soup and toasts make a fantastic light lunch or a dinner starter. I would make both recipes again. 

I am linking up this soup to Sunday Night Soup Night, hosted by Debbie at Easy Natural Food.

We have a few friends waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen, lets take a look.

Simona of briciole made a nourishing Minestra di Cicerchie (Cicerchi Soup) and says, "Cicerchia (Lathyrus sativus) is a legume that, according to this page (in Italian), was once widely consumed, while nowadays, it is grown only in central Italy. According to the recipe headnote, cicerchie were a popular legume among Umbria peasants. As always, I altered the recipe to adjust it to my taste and then prepared a variation of it. If you don't have cicerchie, the soup can be made with chickpeas (ceci)".

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food tried a springy Chive and Egg-Drop Soup and says, "You think that making dumplings is a chore (it does take some time up-front esp. the wrapping part).  Think again. The dumplings can be made ahead and frozen, so it can be a time-saver if you prepare and plan well. When hunger calls, just boil water or broth and boil the frozen dumplings to cook."

This week Debbie from Easy Natural Food is sharing a post about the reasons she eats soup in summer, or all year round. Of course we fully support year-round soup eating here at Souper Sundays. ;-) Debbie says, "For me soup is an any-time-of-the-day, any-time-of-the-year food. It’s a food group in it’s own right! It should be part of the dietary guidelines: Soup – eat one or more servings daily!" Check out her 10 reasons and some tasty soup recipe links on her post. 

Janet of The Taste Space has a soup and a salad this week. Her soup is this hearty Turkish Red Pepper, Chickpea and Cilantro Soup (Nohut Corbasi) about which she says, "I really liked how fresh and vibrant this soup was without being heavy. The simple soy milk makes this creamy along with the pureed chickpeas. The red pepper confers sweetness, celeriac a hearty celery background and the parsley/cilantro combo complemented it all really well. It has simple flavours that worked so well together: perfect as a light yet filling soup for the spring."

Janet also made this Lemon Asparagus Quinoa Toss salad and says, "I made this recipe last year when I had local asparagus. Now that Ontario asparagus is just starting to arrive, I broke it out again. I changed her recipe, a tad, this time, by roasting the asparagus on the barbecue, as well as decreasing the raw garlic (gasp!) and oil, but increasing the fresh lemon juice and adding lemon pepper. Meyer lemons subdue the lemon flavour, so for a nice match for the bold garlic, consider using the regular lemons."

Sue of Couscous & Consciousness has a pretty Baked Figs with Walnut Tarragon Cream & Rocket Salad to share and says, "My neighbour has a good sized fig tree which fruits quite prolifically -lucky neighbour!  My neighbour doesn't eat figs and, although the birds do, if I'm really vigilant I can get a fair share of them before my feathered friends swoop on them - lucky me!  ...this dish just rocketed to the top of my list of things to do with figs.  A divine dish, and I'm going to be watching that fig tree like a hawk over the next week to make this a few more times before the season is over."

Some perfect-for-May dishes this week. Thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there and have a happy, healthy week!

Note: It's been crazy and I have not yet drawn a winner for the FoodTrients cookbook and apron giveaway but will do so and post it soon.


  1. The melon soup you made looks really nice: with melon season fast approaching, it is a nice way of using the fruit. And I like the toasts too.
    A nice array of soups and salads, as always. I must admit my heart skipped a beat when I read about a fig tree whose owner does not like its fruits. I wish I had a fig tree. Have a great week everybody and thank you, Deb, for being such a gracious host.

  2. Wow, that looks like an amazing lunch! That soup is exactly what I mean when I think about chilled summer soups! I'm going to add it to my Summer Soups post right now :) Also tose almond toasts with the goat cheese and melon have sparked a couple of ideas for me....
    Thanks for sharing with Sunday Night Soup Night!

  3. Thanks for the round up! Most of the dishes are "spring-friendly" or even summer-friendly.

  4. I love VT also and always find at least ONE dish that I NEED to make!  Somehow I missed this even given my current goat cheese addiction. I'm going to have to go back and search through that issue!

  5. Hey Deb, this soup is one of my top 3 pics from Sunday Night Soup Night! (again :) I couldn't resist because it fitted in so well with my summer soups post this week.Thanks for sharing!


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