Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watermelon and mango soup

Madame and I ate at The Edge, a very nice restaurant in Rodney Bay St. Lucia. Madame had the watermelon soup and it was excellent. I couldn't decompose it, but I knew I wanted to make something like it. So after much fiddling around, I came to this.

Serves 8

For the sugar syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
8 green cardamoms
1 1" knob of fresh ginger cut into thin slices
8 peppercorns
2 kaffir lime leaves (or the zest of 2 limes)
2 cloves

For the soup
1/3 cup of sugar syrup
1T powdered arrowroot
1/4 cup water
6 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
2 ripe mangoes
1t fresh mace chopped fine or 1/2t powdered mace
A few drops of your favorite hot sauce
24 croutons
a little extra virgin olive oil - used as a finishing garnish
a little sherry vinegar - used as a finishing garnish
a little coarse sea salt - used to finish the soup and give a flavor burst and crunch

Sugar syrup
Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve as much as possible. Add the flavoring ingredients. Bring to a boil slowly, and simmer for about 10 minutes. You are really just keeping it hot, not trying to caramelize it. The goal is to speed flavor extraction.

Strain the syrup. Left overs are good in many cocktails that require simple syrup.

The soup
Make a slurry from the arrowroot and water. Add to the warm sugar syrup and stir to combine. It should thicken up.

Place the arrowroot mixture, watermelon, mangoes, mace and hot sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain into a large bowl, cover with cling wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.

To serve, ladle the soup into small bowls, dot the surface with some olive oil and vinegar. Place 3 croutons in each bowl, sprinkle a few coarse salt crystals.

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