Melon Gazpacho with Smoked Swordfish and Almonds

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Stay cool this summer with some chilled soup. Chef Carolyn Johnson shares her melon gazpacho recipe that’s slightly fruity, slightly spicy and incredibly fresh. Adding in the soaked stale bread might sound strange, but it helps thicken the dish and adds a subtle tang. Take your pick between cantaloupe and honeydew for your melon choice (the cucumbers and chilies balance out the sweetness no matter which you choose).


for the soup:
  • 3 ounces stale bread
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 small melon
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 Hungarian wax chilies
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
for the smoked fish salad garnish:
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 ounces smoked swordfish (or other hot smoked fish, such as bluefish or trout)
  • 1 small red chili, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Greens from the scallions (leftover from soup), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
for the harissa yogurt (optional):
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa


for the soup:
  1. Remove the crust from the bread and dice into 1/2" cubes. Soak in 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar.
  2. Remove the rind and seeds from the melon, cut in 1" cubes. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Peel and seed the cucumbers, cut in 1/2" slices. Add cucumbers to the bowl with the melon.
  4. Remove the stem from the chilies, leave the seeds in if you want a spicier soup or remove for a milder gazpacho. Slice thinly and add to the bowl.
  5. Thinly slice the white part only of the scallions, reserve the greens for the garnish. Add scallions to the bowl with other ingredients.
  6. Microplane the garlic clove and add to the bowl.
  7. Thoroughly mix the melon and vegetables together until evenly distributed. Season with salt and a bit of pepper and toss again.
  8. Take the bread out of the water and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
  9. Add the melon and vegetable mix to the blender with the bread. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  10. Turn the blender on low, purée until soup is just blended.
  11. Turn the blender to high and slowly drizzle in the EVOO. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt level as necessary.
  12. Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve and set in refrigerator to chill completely.
for the smoked fish salad garnish:
  1. Char the bell pepper on a grill or burner. Remove the skin and seeds, then julienne.
  2. Dice the swordfish into 1/4" pieces.
  3. Put the roasted pepper, fish, chili, cilantro, scallions and almonds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, keep in mind that the smoked fish is fairly salty already.
  4. Mix together with lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over the other ingredients and mix well.
for the harissa yogurt (optional):
  1. Whisk together the yogurt and harissa. Season to taste with salt.
to assemble:
  1. Pour the chilled soup into bowls.
  2. If using, drizzle the yogurt over the gazpacho.
  3. Put a few tablespoons of the smoked swordfish mixture into the center of each bowl.
  4. Drizzle with a little EVOO and finish with a cilantro sprig.

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