Iced Cantaloupe Soup with Jalapeno and Basil

It's 113 degrees outside. I didn't want to cook. I also didn't want to grill so I stopped at the store and bought the ingredients for this soup and a roast chicken. Iced cantaloupe. What could sound cooler than that?

I was first introduced to cantaloupe soup in Provence several years ago. We were walking through a village and noticed a small packed-with-locals restaurant, with a patio where everyone was devouring this bright orange soup. By that time we had already become familiar with the Cavaillon melon which is the best cantaloupe on the planet end of story. There is even a giant statue of a melon in the town of Cavaillon France.

We were there during the height of the season and ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner and would have smuggled them home if we could.

I've seen them in a grocery store here once and I urge you if you ever see them you must buy one and devour it as soon as possible!!! They look a bit like striped honeydews on the outside. Or even better book a trip to Provence in June.


The french soup was amazing and had a hint of red pepper. I tried to replicate it once but failed. I really needed the French melon.

I was excited when I saw this recipe and it lived up to my expectations. There's even a drink alternative which is to puree the soup as directed, strain, add the lime zest and jalapeno and pour in glasses with a splash of vodka.

My picture is a little dark. The actual soup is a vibrant cantaloupe color.


Iced Cantaloupe Soup with Jalapeno and Basil

makes 2 to 4 servings as a first course -
Adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.

One 2 1/2 pound intensely sweet-smelling ripe cantaloupe
2 cups ice cubes
Generous pinch of salt
4 or 5 grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)
Grated zest of 1/2 large lime

1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut into fine dice
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, coarse chopped
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice (optional)

1. Cut the melon into quarters. Scoop out its seeds and trim away the rind. Slice it into chunks and put them into a food processor. Add the ice, salt, pepper, sugar, and lime juice, and puree. Stir in the grated zest.

2. Place the jalapeños, basil, and onion in separate small serving bowls. Pour the puree into individual soup bowls or into a pitcher for further chilling.

3. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and pass the condiments. The basil and jalapeño are the essential finishes for the soup, while the onion is an attractive option.


Robin said...

I read this post and then the very next grocery run I found one at my market so I bought it ... loved it ... very sweet and wonderful tasting. Thanks for pointing this melon out!