Melons, from watermelon to cantaloupe, are most definitely not my thing. There’s something about their watery flavor that really turns me off. As Dylan was planning his menu for our dinner party last weekend, however, I put in an enthusiastic vote for this soup from the June 1991 issue of Gourmet (found here on Epicurious). It is one of his favorites and I’d never had it before, but figured with five courses plus dessert stretching ahead of us on a hot late summer evening, a chilled fruity soup seemed much more appropriate than a heavier, homey vegetable variety.
After trying the soup, I can still say that cantaloupe doesn’t do it for me, but I appreciate how creamy and refreshing it was. The melon-eaters in the group (i.e. everyone else at the table) all seemed to enjoy it and commented on how tasty and unusual it was. I realize that in many parts of the country, it’s probably cooling down to the point that warm and cozy soups are starting to seem appealing, but just in case you find yourself in hotter climes or enjoying the unexpected warmth of an Indian summer, this is an easy, light soup to make that will remind you of the long summer days that are quickly fading.
Cantaloupe and almond milk soup (makes approximately 5 cups or 8 small servings)
1/2 cup unblanched almonds
1 cantaloupe, halved, the seeds discarded and the flesh scooped out
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
lime slices, lemon slices, or sliced almonds for garnish
1. In a shallow baking pan, toast the unblanched almonds in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are aromatic, and transfer them to a blender. Add 1 1/2 cups water and blend the mixture until the almonds are ground fine.
2. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids, discard the solids, and return the almond milk to the blender, cleaned. Add the cantaloupe, the honey, the lime juice, and a pinch of salt and blend the mixture until it is smooth.
3. Transfer the soup to a bowl and chill it for 1 hour, or until it is cold. Divide the soup among chilled bowls, and garnish it with the sliced almonds and/or lime or lemon slices.