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What can I add to a cold watermelon soup to make it more savory?

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I've just made Mark Bittman's cold watermelon-rosemary soup (recipe here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25222700/ ), to be served at a small dinner party tomorrow evening. The soup (pureed watermelon, lime juice, rosemary-infused simple syrup, and rum) tastes great, but it's very thin, and I worry that the suggested garnish of lime zest and chunks of watermelon won't be enough to make it a decent appetizer. (Right now, with a bit more rum, it would make a great cocktail!) In the accompanying video, Bittman suggests adding feta cheese to make the soup more savory, but I keep kosher, and this will be a meat meal, so dairy (or non-kosher stuff like shellfish, pig, etc.) is out. Anybody have any suggestions?

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  1. Actually, I was going to suggest adding watermelon balls made with a melon baller until I reread your post and saw that's already called for. Are you sure that wouldn't be enough heft? I can picture that being very refreshing and a nice appetizer. Maybe sprinkle some cut chives on top for garnish, or some rosemary leaves and have some crackers on the side to go with it?

    Or what about chunks of avocado? Not sure myself how that would be but it might be a possibility and one that would make it seem more savory too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: karykat

      I recently had a watermelon soup at a restaurant in which the floating watermelon chunks had been grilled - to the extent that they had grill marks. That was tasty and added some substance and a touch of smoky flavor to the soup. It also had basil oil floating on top. You could consider replacing the lime zest with a basil or pesto garnish to make it less cocktail-y.

      It might also benefit from a dose of sherry or balsamic vinegar- just maybe!

    2. 'The New Spanish Table' has a Watermelon and Tomato Soup, a cold gazacho. Basically it is pureed:
      watermelon
      tomato
      lemon juice
      celery
      olive oil
      s&p

      Here's a tomato and watermelon skewers recipe
      http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/as...
      that may give some flavoring ideas.

      paulj

      1. I say take it over the top.

        Get some thinly sliced prosciutto or serrano ham and bake it in the oven to make crisps. Then make a little minced salad of poached shrimp, watermelon and a bit of serrano chile. Dress the salad with it with a light vinaigrette made with lime and fresh mint, put a spoonful or two on top of a crisp and float the crisp in the middle of the bowl. Maybe even sprinkle around a few tiny (like, 5mm) spicy croutons.

        Hmmm... might have to make this one myself :-)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dmnkly

          Ham? Shrimp? She said she was kosher!

          1. re: DGresh

            Er... um...

            ...nevermind :-)

            (Reading comprehension skills at 4:00 AM = low.)

        2. the only kosher way i can think of to add more body & thickness & increase the actual viscosity of the soup is to blend it with bread [normally i'd say oats in a cooked soup, but raw...i think not. ick.]

          do you have access to any good, hearty bread? take one generous slice [about 1-inch thick] and cut it into cubes. soak the bread cubes in the soup for a few minutes to soften, and then pour into a blender & pulse until smooth - it should be thicker now. add the reserved watermelon chunks & lime zest, & garnish with fresh mint or basil.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Bread is a common thickener in Spanish soups, both hot and cold.

            1. re: paulj

              that's why i suggested it. traditional gazpacho always contains bread.

          2. I really like the sound of this soup recipe. I am glad you posted it. (I'm going to try it!) However, it seems to me that you are trying to do the impossible. This is a dessert soup, or, at least, a very sweet soup. Turning it into a savory soup strikes me as being as difficult as making chocolate fudge into a savory food. Some dishes just don't lend themselves to the conversion. I am sorry to be so negative, but I sure like the recipe as it stands!

            2 Replies
            1. re: gfr1111

              It's not hugely sweet, and the rosemary pulls it in a more savory direction, so I think it could arguably go either way. I'm not really trying to make it savory per se, although I used the word because Bittman uses it when suggesting the feta. (If he hadn't mentioned it, I would also have assumed that it was purely a dessert soup and made something else.) I just want to make it more like a soup, without taking it in a super-dessert-y direction, and less like a drink. At this point, I'm considering pouring in more rum, serving it in cocktail glasses, and punting on the whole soup thing.

              1. re: GilaB

                You could make it more sour and add texture by add some more lime juice and maybe some of the pulp.

              1. Reduce some balsamic vinegar in a pan and cool. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle a swirl of the balsamic glaze on & top w/ a sprig of fresh mint. Voila!

                1 Reply
                1. re: lynnlato

                  That sounds really great - I think I'll try that, then report back!

                2. I'd be tempted to turn that into partially frozen soup. I was going to suggest fresh tarragon until I saw the rosemary.

                  1. Probably late to the party but some crisped duck prosciutto or thin crispy chunks of a duck or chicken sausage, or thin strips of fried chicken skin would make me happy. A salty crispy contrast.

                    1. One of my favorite summer salads is watermelon/tomato/red onion/basil..................

                      1. try passion fruit/lilikoi puree

                        1. I usually allow the watermelon to loose some water by placing chunks of the fruit into a colander and salting it very lightly. Then let it sit and drain for a few hours before making the puree. It doesn't add to the savory but does help with the thin..

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