Have you ever grilled slices of watermelon? Have you ever thought about throwing some watermelon into your gazpacho? Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho does both.
I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a couple of months, but the timing just hasn’t worked out with all of my recent traveling. On our way back from Maine, we stopped at a farm stand and picked up some delicious local watermelon. When The Grillmaster fired up the charcoal to cook some pork tenderloin, I knew the time had come.
Prep the Watermelon
When you prepare the watermelon for the grill, make sure you cut nice thick slices. We had a small round watermelon (about 12 pounds) and took two 1-inch slices from the middle. You might want to grill more than you need for the gazpacho because there will be some snacking!
But I Don’t Have Ancho Chile Powder…
The original recipe in Fine Cooking called for chipotle chile powder, which I didn’t have and couldn’t find locally, so I used ancho chile powder from my spice rack. If you don’t have that, any chile powder will do.
Need salt-free chile powder? Make your own.
Note to self: get chipotle chile powder on next out-of-town trip.
How Best to Purée
The first time I made Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho, I used an 11-cup food processor to buzz up everything and it was barely large enough. All of the ingredients fit inside, but juice leaked out of the bottom and clean-up was more problematic than it needed to be. I’ve also made the gazpacho in a blender. No leakage, but the soup wasn’t as chunky. It was drinkable, however. I think I’ll try an immersion (“stick”) blender next time.
Crème Fraiche to Garnish?
The original recipe finished with a drizzle of crème fraiche mixed with a little bit of fresh lime juice. I couldn’t find any crème fraiche at the store, so I decided to make my own. Of course, I didn’t start this process until after the soup was ready and, being the impatient type, I tried the soup without the crème fraiche first. I must say I don’t think adding it was worth the extra calories and trouble, but your mileage may vary. Note that the nutritional information below does NOT include the crème fraiche.
To make your own crème fraiche: Crème fraiche is generally made with heavy cream and buttermilk or sour cream. I added a tablespoon of buttermilk to one cup of fat free half & half and let it sit at room temperature for about 24 hours.
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Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt divided
- 3 pounds watermelon about 1/3 of a round melon, sliced 1-inch thick
- 1 medium tomato peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup English cucumber peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/2 medium serrano chile seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Prepare your grill (charcoal or gas).
In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the chile powder. Brush both sides of the watermelon slices with the mixture and then sprinkle lightly with salt.
Grill the watermelon until nicely charred, about a minute per side. Transfer to cutting board; remove rind (and seeds, if necessary). Coarsely chop the flesh.
In a food processor, combine watermelon, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, serrano chile, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until somewhat smooth, but still a bit chunky.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lime juice and red wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.