This June 16 photo shows a three-melon soup in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton. (Sara Moulton via AP)

This June 16 photo shows a three-melon soup in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton. (Sara Moulton via AP)

Three Melon Soup is a summer showstopper

  • By SARA MOULTON
  • Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:17pm
  • LifeFood

Three Melon Soup, a real showstopper, is as much fun to look at as it is refreshing to eat. The key, though, is to start with the ripest and most fragrant fruits available. In the case of cantaloupes and honeydews, the first move is to smell the stem end to make sure it smells strongly of melon. With watermelon, begin by searching for a large yellow spot on the outside — a sign that the melon ripened for a good long time in the sun. (Watermelons don’t rotate as they ripen; the yellow spot marks the part never exposed to the sun. The larger the spot, the longer it ripened.)

Given its natural sweetness, melon cries out for an acidic counterpoint. Citrus is the best choice. Here we use orange, lemon and lime, one for each of the three melons — although lemon or lime will work for the group of them if you’d prefer not to buy all three types. Also, the amount of citrus prescribed is given as a range because an individual melon may need more or less acid depending on its sweetness. Start with the smallest amount, adding more until it’s no longer flat.

This soup’s blazing good looks — a kaleidoscope of red, yellow and green — result from the fact that each of the three purees keeps to itself. And you don’t need to be a professional food stylist to pull off this trick — just spoon the purees into separate parts of the bowl.

I offer this recipe in two versions: plain or fancy. The former is garnished with sour cream or yogurt, strawberries and mint. The latter boasts a savory garnish: salty cheese, tortilla strips and sliced chiles. All of the purees can be prepared several days ahead of time, and you can double or triple the recipe with no problem, which makes it a perfect candidate for a large backyard party.

Three Melon Soup

Start to finish: 3 hours, 50 minutes (50 active)

Servings: 4

3 cups coarsely chopped honeydew melon, plus 1/2 cup small cubes honeydew melon

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 cups coarsely chopped seedless watermelon, plus 1/2 cup small cubes watermelon

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups coarsely chopped cantaloupe melon, plus 1/2 cup small cubes cantaloupe melon

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons orange juice

Traditional garnishes:

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup sour cream

Fresh mint leaves

Savory garnishes:

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 small serrano, sliced thin crosswise

In a blender combine the coarsely chopped honeydew with 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and blend until finely pureed. Taste and add more lime juice if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, rinse out the blender and add the coarsely chopped watermelon and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Blend until finely pureed; taste and add more lemon juice if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, rinse out the blender and add the coarsely chopped cantaloupe, orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blend until finely pureed; taste and add more lemon juice if necessary. Transfer to a bowl. Chill all three melon purees for at least 3 hours.

To serve: Remove the purees from the refrigerator and stir each one (the water in the melon will separate out as it sits). Spoon or pour equal amounts of each puree into each of four bowls and garnish with either the traditional or savory garnishes.

Nutritional information: 194 calories; 30 calories from fat; 3 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 56 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 35 g sugar; 4 g protein.

Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including “Cooking Live.”

More in Life

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.

Steller Sea Lions can be seen in an enclosure at the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska SeaLife Center to Alaskans: We’re still here for you

You rallied and kept us alive. Today, we’re writing to say thank you.

A wood-carved whale hangs in the Nikiski Senior Center on Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Nikiski Senior Center)
Whale of a job

Nikiski Senior Center gets addition to dining room.