The transition from summer to fall is a beautiful time in Minnesota. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, it is a time to embrace your Yang and be more active; but, it’s also important to stay cool and avoid dryness. One of the best foods for helping with this is Watermelon.
Watermelon is sweet and cold in nature. It’s traditionally used to clear heat, stop thirst, preserve fluids, and resolve a condition in Chinese Medicine which is similar to heat stroke, called summer-heat. It’s also downward-moving in nature, and can disinhibit urination. All of these properties make it a fantastic late-summer or early-fall food. This dish is quite refreshing on 80 degree humid Minnesota days, which we’re still in store for before fall fully settles in. I present to you for consumption, Watermelon Gazpacho!
1 red onion, 1/2 cup roughly chopped, 1/2 cup finely chopped
1-2 red bell peppers, 1 cup roughly chopped, 3/4 cup finely chopped
1-2 peeled and seeded cucumbers, 1 cup roughly chopped, 1 cup finely chopped
1 jalapeño (I prefer serrano) pepper, 1 Tbsp roughly chopped, 1 Tbsp finely chopped (more or less to taste)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
6 to 7 cups of chopped seedless watermelon (or watermelon with seeds removed)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar (more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the watermelon and tomatoes)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 . Put the roughly chopped onion, bell pepper, cucumber, jalapeño and cilantro into a powerful blender. (Reserve the finely chopped vegetables for adding later.) Add the tomatoes and pulse until puréed. Add the watermelon and pulse again until smooth. If your blender isn’t big enough or if you prefer to use a food processor, you may need to work in batches. (An immersion blender will likely not work for this, not enough liquid.) Pour into a large bowl.
2 . Taste the gazpacho and add red wine vinegar to balance the sweetness of the watermelon and tomatoes. Depending on how sweet your watermelon is, and how acidic or sweet your tomatoes are, you may need to add less or more red wine vinegar. So, start with 1/4 cup of vinegar, and keep adding a tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a balance you like. Whisk in the salt and olive oil.
3 . Stir in the finely chopped onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and jalapeño. Chill for at least an hour for the flavors so blend. (It’s even better chilled overnight.) Add more salt to taste if it needs it.
Garnish with sour cream, diced avocado and chopped fresh cilantro. Also good with a side of toasted rustic bread.