Chilled soups made with raw ingredients, like gazpacho or ones made with sweet peas or cucumber, are a warm weather cliché. So when we heard that chef Deb Paquette of Nashville's Etch was making a cold cantaloupe soup with roasted melon, we snapped to attention. Not only does this 30-year culinary veteran concentrate the cantaloupe's flavors in the oven, she blasts the melon with ras el hanout (a Moroccan curry-like blend), cayenne, fresh ginger and, most surprising of all, ginger ale. This is one chilled soup that knows how to break from the norm all year round.
Chilled Roasted Cantaloupe Soup with Ginger Yogurt and Pomegranate Swirl
Recipe adapted from Deb Paquette, Etch, Nashville, TN
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 3 hours chilling)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes (plus 3 hours chilling)
1 large cantaloupe--peeled, seeded and sliced crosswise into 6 pieces
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
⅔ cup ginger ale, at room temperature
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ras el hanout (optional)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Pomegranate molasses, for drizzling
½ cup (2 ounces) candied ginger
½ cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup plain yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the cantaloupe on a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
2. Make the soup: To a blender, add the roasted cantaloupe, ginger, butter, heavy cream, ginger ale, lime juice, sugar, ras el hanout and salt. Purée until smooth. Over a large bowl, strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill the soup, at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
3. Make the ginger yogurt: To a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the candied ginger, water and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool for 10 minutes before blending until smooth. Transfer the ginger paste to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
4. Divide the chilled soup among 6 bowls. Stir the yogurt into the ginger paste and add a dollop to each bowl of soup. Top with a few cilantro leaves and serve with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.