Three Melon Soup is a sum­mer show­stop­per

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Sara Moul­ton Sara Moul­ton, The As­so­ci­ated Press

EEThree Melon Soup, a real show­stop­per, is as much fun to look at as it is re­fresh­ing to eat. The key, though, is to start with the ripest and most fra­grant fruits avail­able. In the case of can­taloupes and hon­ey­dews, the first move is to smell the stem end to make sure it smells strongly of melon. With wa­ter­melon, be­gin by search­ing for a large yellow spot on the out­side — a sign that the melon ripened for a good long time in the sun. (Wa­ter­mel­ons don’t ro­tate as they ripen; the yellow spot marks the part never ex­posed to the sun. The larger the spot, the longer it ripened.)

Given its nat­u­ral sweet­ness, melon cries out for an acidic coun­ter­point. Cit­rus is the best choice.

Here we use or­ange, lemon and lime, one for each of the three mel­ons — al­though lemon or lime will work for the group of them if you’d pre­fer not to buy all three types. Also, the amount of cit­rus pre­scribed is given as a range be­cause an in­di­vid­ual melon may need more or less acid de­pend­ing on its sweet­ness. Start with the small­est amount, adding more un­til it’s no longer flat.

This soup’s blaz­ing good looks

— a kalei­do­scope of red, yellow and green — re­sult from the fact that each of the three purees keeps to it­self. And you don’t need to be a pro­fes­sional food stylist to pull off this trick — just spoon the purees into sep­a­rate parts of the bowl.

I of­fer this recipe in two ver­sions: plain or fancy. The for­mer is gar­nished with sour cream or yo­gurt, straw­ber­ries and mint. The lat­ter boasts a sa­vory gar­nish: salty cheese, tor­tilla strips and sliced chiles. All of the purees can be pre­pared sev­eral days ahead of time, and you can dou­ble or triple the recipe with no prob­lem, which makes it a per­fect can­di­date for a large back­yard party. Start to fin­ish: 3 hours, 50 min­utes (50 ac­tive). Serv­ings: 4

In­gre­di­ents

3 cups coarsely chopped honey­dew melon,

plus K cup small cubes honey­dew melon 2 to 4 ta­ble­spoons fresh lime juice

3 cups coarsely chopped seed­less wa­ter­melon, plus K cup small cubes wa­ter­melon

2 to 4 ta­ble­spoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups coarsely chopped can­taloupe melon, plus K cup small cubes can­taloupe melon

N cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons or­ange juice K cup chopped straw­ber­ries N cup sour cream Fresh mint leaves Sa­vory gar­nishes: K cup crushed tor­tilla chips

L cup crum­bled feta cheese

1 small ser­rano, sliced thin cross­wise Di­rec­tions

In a blender, com­bine the coarsely chopped honey­dew with 2 ta­ble­spoons of the lime juice and blend un­til finely pureed. Taste and add more lime juice if nec­es­sary. Trans­fer to a bowl, rinse out the blender and add the coarsely chopped wa­ter­melon and 2 ta­ble­spoons of the lemon juice.

Blend un­til finely pureed; taste and add more lemon juice if nec­es­sary. Trans­fer to a bowl, rinse out the blender and add the coarsely chopped can­taloupe, or­ange juice and 1 ta­ble­spoon lemon juice. Blend un­til finely pureed; taste and add more lemon juice if nec­es­sary. Trans­fer to a bowl.

Chill all three melon purees for at least 3 hours.

To serve: Re­move the purees from the re­frig­er­a­tor and stir each one (the wa­ter in the melon will sep­a­rate out as it sits). Spoon or pour equal amounts of each puree into each of four bowls and gar­nish with ei­ther the tra­di­tional or sa­vory gar­nishes. Nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion: 194 calo­ries; 30 calo­ries from fat; 3 g fat (2 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg choles­terol; 56 mg sodium; 41 g car­bo­hy­drate; 3 g fiber; 35 g sugar; 4 g pro­tein.

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