Melon soup adds a colorful touch of elegance to a summer luncheon, tailgate party, or picnic. Served chilled, it is as easy to pack in a cooler as it is to make for an after school snack for the kids. Full of summer’s bounty, melon soup can be a low calorie, low sodium and vitamin packed starter, an afternoon treat, or used as a novel cocktail mix.
This is a forgiving recipe in which exacting measurements are not necessary. An average sized cantaloupe yields about 3 cups of fruit, a honeydew slightly more and of course watermelons vary drastically in size, color and flavor. Feel free to experiment with combining ingredients by smell, texture and flavor, it will still turn out well. The yogurt gives the melon soup a slightly tart flavor and builds the nutritional base with low fat, dairy based protein. Preparation time is only about 15 minutes.
3 cups canteloupe, chopped into large chunks
3 cups honeydew melon, chopped into large chunks
3 Tbl sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon, (about 2 Tbl)
2 Tbl fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup orange juice or, grappa (sweet Italian brandy)
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1 cup yogurt
2 Tbl yogurt or creme fraiche for garnish
8 – 10 mint leaves for garnish,
Place the chopped melon, sugar, lemon juice and mint leaves into a blender and puree until just small chunks are left, about 1 minute. Add the orange juice or grappa, honey or agave nectar and yogurt and blend for about 1 more minute. Pour into a glass pitcher and keep chilled until ready to serve. Garnish with a small dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche and a mint leaf. Makes about 8 to 10 cups. Keeps for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Melon soup is excellent served as is, or with prosciutto wrapped bread sticks, chunks of ham, or grilled chicken. Watermelon can be used in place of the cantaloupe and honeydew for a variation. Sweeteners such as Splenda can be substituted for the sugar without affecting texture.
As a cocktail mixer, melon soup is versatile and easy to use. Some may choose to omit the yogurt and honey. Light rum can be added over the rocks, or blended with ice for a frozen drink. Vanilla or fruit flavored vodka mixed with melon soup makes a tasty martini. The mint leaves or melon balls on a cocktail stick make an attractive garnish.