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Appetizers, Soups, Vegetarian

Tierra Sur's heirloom melon gazpacho

Tierra Sur's heirloom melon gazpacho
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: My husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary with a beautiful lunch and wine tasting at Tierra Sur, the restaurant at the Herzog Winery in Oxnard. To begin the lunch, I started with an heirloom melon gazpacho. I ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 cups cubed French baguette or batard, all crusts removed, and cut into small cubes (about 1 baguette), divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine, Champagne or sherry vinegar
  • 4 cups cubed, peeled and seeded melons (preferably heirloom, such as Sugar Queen, butterscotch, Ogen, Ananas)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra oil for frying the croutons
  • 3 dried bay leaves, ground to a powder
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes, or as needed
  • Smoked paprika, garnish

Step 1In a bowl, soak 1 1/2 cups cubed bread in the vinegar.

Step 2Meanwhile, using a blender or food processor, puree the melons and red onion. Add the soaked bread and vinegar to the food processor and puree until completely smooth.

Step 3With the motor running, slowly add the one-fourth cup olive oil, then the ground bay leaves. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt.

Step 4If the soup is overly thick, add a few ice cubes and puree until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and vinegar.

Step 5Transfer the soup to a nonreactive metal bowl and chill before serving. This makes about 4 cups soup.

Step 6While the soup is chilling, fry the garnish. Pan-fry the remaining cubes of bread in a hot skillet with a little olive oil until evenly toasted and golden brown. Season to taste with a light sprinkling of salt.

Step 7Serve the soup, garnished with a few croutons and a sprinkling of paprika.

Note: Adapted from chef Todd Aarons at Tierra Sur in Oxnard.


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