It’s a good thing I really like this recipe, because I accidentally made way too much of it and ended up eating it for lunch and dinner three days in a row. Fortunately, in this heat, it’s all I really wanted to eat anyway. Surprisingly, the watermelon doesn’t overpower the tomatoes at all, but compliments them beautifully, balancing the acidity and brightening the flavor of this fantastic summertime meal. Thank you to the brilliant Yotam Ottolenghi for the inspiration for this recipe.
Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho
For the Croutons
- about 3 cups (5 oz / 150 g) crustless white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar
For the Soup
- 4 1/2 lbs (2 kg) ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 celery stalks, pale parts and leaves, all roughly chopped (about 250 g)
- 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 2.5 cups (14 oz / 400 g) watermelon flesh, seeds removed
- about 2 cups (3.5 oz / 100 g) crustless white bread, broken into small chunks
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup (180 ml olive oil, plus extra for serving)
- 1/2 cup (15 g) basil leaves
- Coarse salt and black pepper
For 8 servings
For the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the bread in a medium bowl and add the oil, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well with your hands until all the bread is coated in oil. Transfer bread cubes to a baking tray and place in the hot oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Set aside to cool.
For the soup: Place the tomatoes, garlic, celery, onion, watermelon, bread and most of the basil (reserve some for decorating) in a blender with 1½ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Blend until smooth and then, with the blender still running, slowly add the vinegar and olive oil. Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired. Refrigerate until needed.
Serve the soup in individual bowls and top with the croutons, chopped basil and a generous drizzle of olive oil.