Melons are just coming into season and none too soon. They're so refreshing when the heat of summer bears down on us. Over the next few months wave after wave of intriguing varieties will become available and it's worth going to a farmers market or Specialty Produce to discover something other than your standard cantaloupe or honeydew to enjoy.
For instance, in June I brought home a small, fragrant Rocky Sweet Melon grown by Munak Ranch. The flesh is green like a honeydew but the flavor is more like a cross between a honeydew and cantaloupe. It's very juicy and sweet and tastes even better when it's been chilled.
Because it's so juicy I thought it would make a terrific chilled soup and mulled over what flavors to add to it. Usually I gravitate toward ginger because the sharpness is a nice contrast to the sugary melon. But this time I thought I'd reach for some strong herbs in my garden--Mexican tarragon and basil--and see how they would work, and I'd add some acidity with lime juice. I also had a pint of blueberries that had languished in my refrigerator. Since they go wonderfully with melons I figured I'd add them, too. All of these would be encased in a base of yogurt.
That was pretty much it. These soups are ridiculously simple to make if you have a blender or food processor. Simply dump all the ingredients in the bowl and puree. Yes, I mince the herbs. You don't have to since they're going into the blender but I don't want to risk them not being evenly chopped up and distributed. Then taste what you have and make adjustments. I found myself adding more basil than I thought would work but it still wasn't quite there. Then I had a little blip of an idea. Salt.
I added just a pinch and that's all that was needed to push the flavors forward. The soup doesn't taste at all salty; just makes the herbal flavors more assertive.
Let the soup sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so the mix of flavors melds. Then enjoy this refreshing vibrant summer soup.
Chilled Melon Blueberry Soup
Yield: 3 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups melon
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons basil leaves, minced
1 teaspoon Mexican tarragon, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup plain yogurt
Pinch kosher salt
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Puree. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for two hours before serving.