Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cucumber Melon Soup with Serrano Ham Crisps

It has been impossible muggy here in Toronto for the past week or so and while I grew up with this kind of weather in Boston, I've become accustomed to the dry heat in Southern California. Because of this insane mugginess I've had very little desire to cook and to be completely honest have been weeding through and posting recipes I've stored up just to keep things rolling here. All it took to inspire me was a trip to the grocery store last night. I went to pick up some ingredients for tonight's dinner and got happened upon some beautiful organic cantaloupes. I've been wanting to make gazpacho, a deliciously tomato-y cold soup, but decided that the melon would pair beautifully with the organic hot house cucumber I had waiting for me in my newest Mama Earth box. Thus this deliciously refreshing soup came about.

Cucumber Melon Soup
serves 6

1 organic cantaloupe
2 hot house cucumbers
1 shallot
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon zest
6 slices Serrano ham
1 large handful flat leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the slices of Serrano ham on the prepared sheet. Place in the oven to crisp up about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
2. Remove rind and seeds from cantaloupe and cut into 1-2" chunks. Peel cucumbers, slice in half and remove seed with a spoon. Cut into chunks. Peel and roughly chop the shallot. Place all the fruit and vegetable into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until everything has begun to break down. Add in vinegar, lemon zest and salt. Pulse to combine.
3. Turn the food processor on and stream in the olive oil until all combined, you may adjust the amount of oil to your preference. Place finished soup in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
4. Roughly chop the flat leaf parsley and crumble the ham into large pieces. Serve soup cold topped with crumbles and chopped parsley.

This soup is a breeze to put together and incredibly savory, considering it's made with fruit. The shallot and olive oil really round out the flavor, with the vinegar adding just the right amount of acid and the ham and parsley adding texture. The boy, who generally turns his nose up at these kinds of healthy things, even liked it and appreciated it with the humid weather. If you don't eat meat you could top it with veggie bacon crumbles or even a nice manchego cheese. The purpose for the crispy ham was texture and salt, so if you chose not to add anything it may need a bit more salt. Enjoy!


The Domestic Diva said...

Wow - this looks so delicious! What a great idea! I hope it cools off soon.

The Diva

Orce Serrano Hams said...

Fantastic summer recipe, love the combination.


SteamyKitchen said...

wow - I'm totally intrigued - LOVE the idea of a fruit soup + crispy ham