With the weather getting warmer, it's hard to want to eat hot and heavy meals.
I doubt most people think of spring being a great season for soup, but this soup fits the season perfectly. This recipe was something that I believe I saw in the Washington Post a couple summers ago and quickly made my own. It's comparable to a gazpacho, if you've ever had the cold Spanish soup, except that the base is not tomato.
This is an elegant and easy way to use up extra cucumber, which we always seem to have in the house, leftover from salads and sandwiches. It also shows off cantaloupe beautifully. The "fire and ice" soup gets a nice kick from some hot pepper, but that can be controlled by your own hand, and the heat is a nice contrast to the mellow sweetness of both the melon and the cucumber.
This recipe is a great one to make if you're serving guests, since it can be made ahead of time, very quickly, and is served chilled. As usual, I served this in our china tea cups. Just a little quirk of mine. Tea cups are a great vessel for serving soups. Chocolate mousses too. But that's for another day.
"Fire and Ice" Cucumber and Cantaloupe Soup
1 small cantaloupe (about 1 ½ lbs)
2 cups diced cucumber (about 1/3 the quantity of cantaloupe)
juice and zest from one lime
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp hot pepper (e.g. jalepeno)
½ tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
1 to 2 tsp honey (to taste)
¼ to ½ cup milk (to taste)
Slice the cantaloupe into wedges and remove the flesh from the skin. Add with the skinned and diced cucumber into a blender. Add the lime juice and zest (alternatively, you can use a lemon) along with a dash of cold milk. Blend until relatively smooth. Add the ground ginger, pepper, salt, and sugar. Blend till smooth. Add honey or milk to taste.
Serve cold with cream swirled in and cilantro for garnish (optional).
This yields a very generous portion, probably enough for 8 people as an appetizer. I usually serve this to my family of four. The leftovers keep just fine in the fridge for 1-2 days. Just be sure to stir well before serving.