Ever heard of a Santa Claus watermelon? I had not until a couple of weeks ago when I found out the grocery I went to was out of watermelon (which I thought was odd at the beginning of August). I was getting ready to make a gazpacho (cold soup) and the melon was to be the base. I spotted the Santa Claus melons where the usual melons were and the sign just said “seasonal melons”. Curiosity had me reading the tiny label that said Santa Claus and I thought that was the name of the farm or brand name. Not until I did some research did I find out more about this tasty and refreshing member of the melon family. I never found out exactly where it was grown and probably not local but at least it is in season. It looks like its namesake comes from the fact that it is considered a winter melon which means it takes longer to ripen and has a thicker rind. These melons can be refrigerated for up to two months and possibly lasting until around Christmas. Gazpacho is similar to pesto in that it can be made in unlimited ways and is only limited by one’s imagination. There is plenty of room for experimentation here so have fun with the blend of flavors and enjoy this dish maybe into the winter.
Santa Claus Gazpacho
- 1 pounds ripe Santa Claus melon Or 1 chopped with rind removed and seeded melon
- 1 medium hothouse cucumber chopped (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup shallots or green onions chopped (approximately 1 small shallot)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1-2 cloves
- 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or any type of flavored vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds, discarding them. Slice each melon half into quarters and use a spoon to scoop the fruit into a blender and put the rind in the compost.
- Add the cucumber, shallots, basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt to the blender. Add a few twists of fresh ground black pepper. Puree until smooth.
- It is best to place soup in a large container with a tight lid and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend.