Summer and I, we actually have a love-hate relationship. It usually starts with my hayfever still lingering from springtime and it reminds me of heat, sticky sweaty skin, being thirsty and burning up. But then taking a dip in fresh water, drinking cold drinks and eating colorful summer produce take this to a whole other dimension. This is what summer is about. Hot days and cooler nights. Dehydration followed by quenching. Bright colors in the daytime and pastel tones when the sun sets. It’s all about this bold contrast and balancing out all these different energies and vibes.
I have never experienced a more rejuvenating sensation than to jump in cool sea water after a heatwave has crossed every inch of my body. It’s as if all the things that have kept me locked, worried and upset all this time can just evacuate into infinity and then I can feel born again. Coming out of the water like a whole new creature!
Another really exhilarating thing about summer is all the colors in the food we can eat (and I don’t mean the ice creams or popsicles ;)). It’s like nature has been soaking the maximum amount of sun possible to turn it into a rainbow of produce. Zucchini. Tomatoes. Beans. Berries. Summer squashes. And my favourite: watermelon.
I am currently writing this article while I’m in Crete. This huge fruit is so abundant and available here that you will cross paths with it even if you don’t like it! It’s served at the end of every meal in any local taverna (eatery) you may go. And of course, sold everywhere, at every market and every street. Watermelon overdose!
And so as I was looking for a hydrating, delicious recipe, I got creative and made this really yummy gazpacho. It is very much like the original kind, but with a little touch of fragrant sweetness from the watermelon, and a tabasco spiciness that you just gotta have if you want to make this dish sexy! This is an delicious meal or snack to have at any time during summer. The lycopene in the tomatoes and vitamin A from the watermelon are amazingly good skin food, keeping your skin moisturised and well protected from sun exposure and damage. Watermelon is also full of good electrolytes, keeping you cool and preventing dehydration.
In Luxembourg it is still relatively easy to find and purchase watermelons, although they most often lack in flavor. You might have to experiment a little and try to get them in different places until you get a melon of good quality and ripeness. Another tip is to look for smaller watermelons, as they’re more likely to be more dense in flavor.
- A small watermelon
- 1 medium cucumber
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 red onion (or two small onions)
- A big handful of fresh mint
- 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of tabasco, up to you!
- Chop the watermelon in big chunks while removing the seeds. Place in a blender and blend. Throw this liquid in a big bowl and set aside.
- Cut the cucumber in halves, remove the seeds by carving them out with a little spoon. Peel the cucumber and cut into chunks. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. Peel the onion and then cut in quarters.
- Blend the cucumber, tomatoes, onion and mint in your blender, till you get a smooth consistency. Pour this mixture into your watermelon bowl and stir it all well with a spoon.
- Add the red wine vinegar, salt, tabasco, and your gazpacho is ready. But in order to enjoy it cold as it should be enjoyed, let it cool in your refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving!
- Serve your cold gazpacho in little bowls and garnish with a few drops of olive oil and mint leaves. Maybe you can even add a little bit of crumbled feta if you have some, as this salty greek cheese goes very well with the subtle watermelon flavours. Enjoy either way!