Sunday, July 26, 2015

Soup of the Month: Chilled Honeydew with Mint and Lime

Back in February, I decided to make my Recipe of the Month a salad rather than a soup, in spite of the wintry weather. This month, going in the opposite direction, I decided to do a soup, even though the daytime temperature is regularly peaking well above 90 degrees. I originally assumed that in this heat, a salad would be the obvious choice, but when I started searching through my cookbook shelf for an interesting salad recipe I hadn't tried, my eye fell upon the recipe for Chilled Honeydew Soup with Mint and Lime in Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven, and I thought you could hardly find anything more cool and refreshing than that. So this is actually two firsts for the Recipe of the Month: the first cold soup, and the first fruit-based soup.

Making this soup could hardly be simpler. It has only three ingredients: an entire honeydew melon, which I was able to pick up for $3 at the local farmers' market; a quarter-cup of lime juice, which the recipe says should be freshly squeezed, but we made do with bottled; and two tablespoons of minced mint leaves, which we harvested from our herb garden in the front yard. The recipe also mentions using fresh blueberries as a garnish, but since they're optional, I decided not to spend the extra $2 at the farmers' market. Then, all you have to do is chop the melon into chunks, dump it in the blender with the juice and mint, puree everything until it's smooth (or at least smoothish), and chill it thoroughly in the fridge. Brian prepared the soup on Saturday morning, stuck it in the fridge while we went out on a jaunt to Princeton to celebrate our anniversary, and it was all ready and waiting for us when we got home.

As I'd predicted, the soup was quite cool, light, and refreshing. The flavor was a fairly even balance between sweet and tart, which made it seem a bit strange to be eating it out of a bowl; both the flavor and the texture seemed more like a slushie that should be drunk with a straw. In fact, I tried doing just that with some of the leftover soup today, but it proved a bit too thick to consume that way; I ended up having to add some water to it, and it was still rather difficult to slurp up through the straw. But Mollie Katzen does note that you can make this soup into a granita by pouring it into a shallow dish and freezing it, with a stir every half hour or so to keep it from turning into a solid block of ice. Consuming it that way, out of a sherbet glass, might feel like a better fit for the blend of flavors. But of course, then it couldn't count as a Soup of the Month.

Next month, it'll probably be back to salads. Perhaps something with tomatoes, since I both hope and believe we're going to have a plentiful crop.
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