Melon soup? We had something close to melon wonderful at a french b&b last year, but not being able to persuade the owner to share her recipe, I put together my own version for a refreshing summer lunch. Like that fine example in France, it was the finely shredded basil that made all the difference, lending an unexpected herbal note to the delicate melon flavor.
I’ve made this with cantaloupe but the result wasn’t quite the same. Charentais melon has a flavor all its own, and if you can find them, they should be ripe and sweet. I always take a good sniff to make sure of this. Serve the soup at the start of the meal. Grilled salmon with buttered pasta and herbs make a good main course. Finish with anything really chocolate.
Charentais melon soup
1 Charentais melon, or a super sweet cantaloupe (2 1/2 pounds)
juice of freshly squeezed 1/2 orange
a good pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons honey
2-3 sweet basil leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
Halve the melon and remove the seeds. Scoop the flesh into a food processor fitted with a blade. Process quickly until smooth. Add the orange juice, salt, and honey. Pulse to blend thoroughly.
I like my soup to be less on the gritty side, so I pour half of it through a sieve and press on the solids. After mixing the strained juice with the remainder, it goes into the fridge and chilled until very cold. Top with the basil chiffonade just before serving. Serves 4.