TomatoMania: Floating in Cold Tomato Soup with Cucumber and Cantaloupe

Today is another TomatoMania Monday. My tomatoes are at their height of production. My five pots have brought me quite a bounty.

Of course the irony is that I still can’t eat them. Because if I have not mentioned it lately, I still have a broken jaw. 

I say I can’t eat them, but I should say I can’t eat them in their solid form.

I know I declared with exhaustion that Sup! can’t soup no more. But here I am bringing back another great summer soup.

This is a Cold Tomato Soup with Cucumber and Cantaloupe. This is a spectacularly good soup. Especially when you have impeccable tomatoes as most of us do this time of year.

I make this soup every summer. I look forward to this soup. I discovered it while staying out in Palm Springs for the weekend at a friend’s house a few years ago.

sippitysups home grown tomatoesIt was painfully hot out and I was in charge of something light and cool to get us through that awkward time between champagne brunch and cocktail hour.

Some might call that particular segment of the day lunch. But in Palm Springs during the summer, well the idea of “eating” a â€œlunch” (boozy or not) is just about more than anyone can stand.

But something cool, light and intensely flavorful, now that usually hits the spot.

Anyway I was floating in the pool thumbing through a copy of somebody else’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten cookbook. I am not even sure which cookbook anymore. But it’s great poolside reading. Maybe it’s the Asian influence, but his recipes just suit warm weather.

basilBut this cookbook– on this particular day, was where I first saw the recipe for this soup.

To me this soup seemed perfect for the desert. In fact it seemed a very elegant way to sashay through the very hottest part of the day in style and luxury. Because this soup is very sophisticated in its flavor and presentation.

At first bite this smooth tomato soup seems to be reminiscent of a gazpacho. But it takes on an Asian twist when you discover the melon garnish. It’s a surprising and beautifully spare dish.

My version has morphed some over the years. You can get the recipe here. I think I like it a bit brothier than the original version; especially on a super hot Palm Springs summer afternoon. I usually add 1/4 cup of water. You can leave it out if you want.

making tomato soupI typically change the herb from Jean-George’s basil to my favorite fennel fronds. Both are very good. And either choice (to me) still seems rather Jean-Georges. So he won’t mind.

Also, (yes more changes) when it is particularly hot outside, I often double the recipe. I like to make tomato sorbet with half the soup. If you have never tried tomato sorbet in the heat of summer. Well, then you are seriously missing something.

Sometimes I even make a sorbet using pureed cantaloupe. I have yet to do a cucumber sorbet, but it’s on my list.

It is very nice to float a big scoop of any of these sorbets (heck, try two, or all three!) in this soup.

Imagine yourself as you (yourself) float along in the pool enjoying this cold soup made even chillier with sweet and savory sorbets. 

Though (sadly) I am not in Palm Springs at the moment. And of course, I can’t open my mouth wide enough to get a spoonful of sorbet inside. So… no sorbet for Sup!

cold tomato soup with cataloupe and cucumber Still, this is my chance to finally enjoy the work (and love) I put into my tomato plants this year. And that’s just what I plan to do too. So just take a step back from the soup bowl…my jaw may be wired shut, but I can still snarl!

This soup represents months of patiently waiting (and as selfish as it sounds), I may not share a single bowl of this with any of my mandibulary mobile loved ones. 

Let them eat cake!


Greg Henry