Watermelon 2 Ways

Cookbook author and former Top Chef contestant Otto Borsich is in town as one of the featured chefs at a "Partner Pop-In" dinner Wednesday night at Cafe Momentum. He also visited Good Day and shared two refreshing summer watermelon recipes.

Chilled Watermelon Soup

5 cups diced seedless watermelon 
1/3 of a habanero, minced about a half teaspoon
1 tablespoon of honey 
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1 cup diced, peeled, deseeded cucumber
1 cup diced celery
1 15 oz can black beans, drained, rinsed well, patted dry
1 tablespoon toasted ground coriander
1.5 teaspoons toasted ground cumin 
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups baby spinach 
1/2 cup mint leaves 
1/3 cup bunch cilantro leaves  
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 cup medium diced daikon, well chilled (keep in ice water)
1 cup sliced thin radish well chilled (keep in ice water)

Place first 6 ingredients in a blender and puree into a fine liquid. Drain this mixture through a chinois or fine sieve. Place in a glass or stainless bowl and refrigerate. For optimum results place over a bowl of ice.

Heat a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, avoid excess water seeping from the spinach, this takes 30-45 seconds. Turn off heat, add mint and cilantro and stir briefly to incorporate and wilt together. Add remaining oil to blender, add spinach and herb mixture and puree until smooth and incorporated. It may be necessary to add more oil to achieve a proper puree, it should be on the thick side. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from blender and place in bowl over ice to chill down. Use a rubber spatula to spread the puree throughout the interior of the bowl. This is chill the puree as fast as possible, thus keeping it vibrant green. Once chilled place in a squeeze bottle.

Add the coriander and cumin to the black beans, season with salt and pepper and toss until incorporated. To serve: Scatter an equal amount of beans in a bowl, this represents the watermelon seeds. Pour the chilled watermelon soup into chilled soup bowls, approximately one cup, not so deep that you cant see the beans/seeds. With the squeeze bottle make a clean continuous line of spinach herb puree around the edge of the soup where it meets the bowl. Place the daikon and radish all around as garnish, Serve immediately. 

Other items such as diced honeydew, diced cantaloupe, seedless red, black, green grapes, rough chopped parsley and basil, any seasonal stone fruit, peaches, plums, cherries, etc. all make great additions as a garnish and create visual and textural dimension. 

Yield: 6-8 servings

Watermelon Sangria

12 cups cubed watermelon, reserve 3 cups for garnish
1 750 ml bottle of dry white wine, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or albariño
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 lime sliced thin
1 lemon sliced thin
1 orange sliced thin
1 pint blueberries

Place 9 cups of watermelon cubes in a blender; blend on high until very smooth. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Pour the wine, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into the pitcher. Stir to combine. Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes, the lime, orange, lemon slices, and blueberries into the sangria. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yield: 16 servings