Alchemy is about taking something ugly or considered of little value and making something beautiful or valuable out of it. Consider the humble beet. A root vegetable with exquisite flavor, but just begging for the wave of a wand and a little magic.
I had these 3 organic beets and 1 cantaloupe— and then I remembered a day when I was sailing in the Caribbean on a huge yacht as a guest of a friend of a friend. Lucky me! The yacht was called Mirabelle, and it was sleek and modern and, for a foodie, it was sheer heaven with a large galley and two decks with dining areas.
However, there was a chef on board. A wonderful chef that conjured up magic with sometimes less than beautiful produce she found in island markets. I remembered one meal she made for us. A cold, refreshing cantaloupe soup followed by large shrimp she had grilled over charcoal on the barbeque she attached to the aft railing. She served us the soup in shooter glasses, and the shrimp ringing a bowl of her version of guacamole. We were meant to dip the shrimp into the guacamole and eat them that way. Magic. She waved her wand again and unveiled a simple one layer chocolate cake in the shape of a heart. It was light as air and had a flavor as deep as the sea we were gently rocking on.
Long story short, I remembered falling under the spell of the chilled soup.
So I took my 3 humble beet roots and 1 cantaloupe and decided to make a chilled soup.
I sliced the beet roots and cooked them in water with their skins on. When they were tender, the skins slipped right off and I popped them in the food processor.
Whizzzzzzz, a dash of salt, a little sugar. What next? I had a small container of Greek yogurt, so that was whizzzzzzzzed in as well. Delightful.
Next, I took one slice of the cantaloupe, diced it, and tossed it in oil and vinegar.
I so loved this soup and the way it turned out that I wanted to share it with you. Children would love it. It is elegant enough to serve for a dinner party. It is healthy, and it costs pennies per serving. Above all, it was magical.
Ruby Melon Soup
- 3 fresh beets
- 1 cantaloupe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (for the vinaigrette)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (for the beet mixture)
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 6 ounces Greek yogurt
- Wash and slice your beets. There is no need to peel them. Place them in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beets are fork tender.
- In the meantime, slice a piece of cantaloupe, cut off the skin, and dice the melon.
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and salt.
- Toss the diced cantaloupe in the oil and vinegar mixture and reserve.
- When the beets are cooked, make sure to reserve the red beet liquid they are cooking in by draining it off into a separate bowl.
- Peel the beets and place them in a food processor.
- Add 2 cups of the red beet liquid and blend until very smooth.
- Add the salt and sugar and blend again.
- Add the container of Greek yogurt and blend well.
- Ladle the ruby red beet soup into 2 bowls, place a small mound of the cantaloupe in the center of each bowl, and serve.