Quick Melon Soup (Paleo, AIP)
It’s not too late, it’s not too late! There are still fantastic melons – cantaloupes and watermelons are my fave, but honeydew is lovely too – to be had at the farmers market, so don’t be too annoyed with me for being so lazy about getting this post up.I was inspired to make melon soup by a fabulous dinner the Minneapolis/St. Paul Paleo Autoimmune Group (join our Facebook page for upcoming gatherings) had at Corner Table in Minneapolis. Chef Thomas Boemer worked out a three-course AIP tasting menu (no dairy, nightshades, eggs, nuts/seeds, seed oils, or legumes) that pretty much blew the group away with finesse, quality of ingredients, and deliciousness.
The first course was a pureed cauliflower soup with watercress and crispy garlic. Our entree was rosy/crusty duck breast over roasted squash, with maitake mushrooms and mushroom puree. And for dessert, a slice of perfect melon afloat in a honey-and-flower-infused watermelon juice, the perfumiest, loveliest delight any of us had tasted in a long while. We all simultaneously picked up our bowls and drank the last sips, like nectar from the gods, and moaned in unison. So fun! (Tip: If you are looking to eat out while following the AIP – absolutely call ahead to 1) make sure the restaurant can accommodate you, and 2) give them a heads up that you’re coming in. Requesting off-menu or revised-menu food really throws a kitchen for a loop, so it’s polite to give fair warning!)The soups pictured are much simpler than our lovely Corner Table treat – but that’s OK. I love eating in restaurants for inspiration and to remember to change things up once in awhile. Certainly melon slices are flipping delicious eaten standing at the sink, with juices running down your face and arms. But pureed with salt and honey, with a hint of mint or other fresh herbs, elevates the luscious to the divine. And that’s what this is all about, right? Of course it’s about healing, and of course eating real food is about respecting and loving your body and good health – we all owe ourselves the gift of real food because we only get one body, and our bodies need real food to function properly – but it’s also about pleasure. Eating is not just for fuel, at least it isn’t to me. I relish meals at Corner Table, or other lovely restaurants, and I cherish simply prepared meals at home too.
This isn’t exactly a recipe, more like a technique. The key ingredient is perfectly ripe melon! Which is a bit of a game of luck, although not so much when you’re eating locally raised, in-season melon.
Peel, seed, and cube melon. Puree in a blender with salt to taste, just enough honey to enhance the sweetness, and a drizzle of olive oil for creaminess. I chilled the cantaloupe puree as is, and steeped the watermelon puree with bruised mint (remove before serving). I garnished the cantaloupe puree with crispy prosciutto (an idea I borrowed from The Kenwood; they also garnish their melon soup with pickled melon – yum). I garnished the watermelon puree with cubed melon and a drizzle of more olive oil.
Serve cold, either in bowls or cups for sipping.
And PS, all summer long I’ve been making killah melon “shakes” when I have a hankering for a milkshake. I love the combination of cantaloupe and watermelon together – the cantaloupe adds a creaminess that watermelon alone doesn’t achieve. Combine a cup each of cubed cantaloupe and watermelon in the bowl of a blender, add 2-3 ice cubes (optional: add a splash of coconut milk), and whir like the dickens into frothy-smoothness. Drink immediately. So good.