I’ve known those who salt their watermelon, and those who sugar their tomatoes. I once thought these practices were madness.
After culinary school, I become more flexible in my appreciation of these summer flavors. Yes, watermelon could get along happily in a savory salad. Yes, tomatoes could represent the sweet aspect of a dish.
Once I’d gotten past the prejudices of my youth, I learned that tomatoes and watermelon could be great friends in salads.
And yet, tomato and watermelon match-ups still seem like strange bedfellows to me. An odd couple.
“But why is this pairing so strange?” I ask myself. They’re both fruit. They grow and ripen together.
In fact, under-ripe watermelons taste quite like cucumbers. Since I think nothing of combining cucumbers and tomatoes, tomato-watermelon dishes should be second nature.
Then each summer tomato + watermelon is a minor culinary revelation. These cautious notions must be simply be old habits dying long, hard, tortured deaths.
When I finally do take that terrifying leap and add, gasp! watermelon to my gazpacho… Surprise! The result isn’t horrifying at all. It’s fresh and lovely.
For that matter, this dynamic duo is economical. Since both are simultaneously in surplus at the same time, it’s a quick (and rewarding) task to blend them up together into soup.
Refreshing Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho
- 2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 cup watermelon, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1 cup cucumber, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp jalapeño pepper, seeds removed (optional)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 1/2 slice stale bread, torn to pieces
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice (optional)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional, for garnish)
- In a blender or food processor, chop the tomatoes, watermelon, onion, cucumber and jalapeño, if using.
- Add the breadcrumbs or pieces, tomato juice and olive oil. Pulse to incorporate.
- Taste for seasoning, adding salt and lime juice to adjust to your desired flavor.
- Chill for at least three hours (or overnight).
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish, if desired (feta cheese is very nice, and I also like chopped cilantro, 1/2” cubes of watermelon or tomato and sliced green onions). It’s great with chewy baguette slices and a side salad.
I find that crunchy fresh-baked croutons are really nice in a gazpacho as well. Or go crazy and throw on some bacon bits. It’s a flexible dish.
This is also great dish for brown-bagging. Just skip the garnish. It’ll hold up well for a few hours without refrigeration and won’t require any on-site heating.
Serve it with a salad for a lovely light lunch at some lunching locale of your choice. Like, say… the park.