I ain’t mad about it, but this is a thing that happens every year. I wake up on September 1st to a social media feed full of pumpkin spice lattes and nostalgic “last of the summer” lunches, and I have to look outside. Sun? Check. Hot? My word, check. Now, I could drive to the nearest market to see what’s going on there, but I’m fairly sure it’s still all melons, corn, and the last of the stone fruit. Last still counts!
It’s like Groundhog Day with fewer furry animals and way too many orange cans. A pumpkin spice latte probably can’t be afraid of its own shadow, but… Maybe we could fling one off the roof of a tall building and see which way the cup lands?
In short, “Hold up, you guys” is the name of my September game. I made soup that embodies this, and I’m giving myself double points for melon and basil, and one point for keeping it cool.
Another thing I need to tell you: I’m really, really pleased with how it came out. It would most certainly make it into my Summer ’14 Top Five list–and I’ve eaten a lot.
I was afraid mellow, subdued melon would get lost in the mix, but it didn’t. Throwing some cucumber in here was an idea too, but I’m glad I skipped it–this time, at least. I’m sure it would be delicious, but the purity of the melon (not that I don’t appreciate a melon that knows a dirty joke or two) combined with the creaminess of avocado and just a little basil freshness is exactly what I wanted.
Prosciutto is here because it’s such a classic with melon. You can think of it as low-carb croutons, or fancy bacon bits, or just pure porky bliss. You can certainly skip it if it’s not your bag–the soup will still be great without it. Croutons, toasted nuts, maybe even some fried polenta–anything that is crunchy, makes you happy, and isn’t granola belongs here.
Actually, this could take a whole new direction if you sub the basil with cilantro and throw crushed tortilla chips on top. Serve Elana’s spicy melon cocktail along with it, because life is good.
Life will still be good when pumpkin season rolls around, I’m sure. Unless something terrible happens (I missed my calling as a phone psychic, you guys).
Meanwhile, let’s live in the now, eat some soup, and think about how much we’ll miss melon and the intoxicating scent of SPF 50 in six months.
Also, does anybody have a pumpkin latte they would like to donate to science? Starbucks won’t return my calls.
- 4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
- 1 large honeydew melon, seeded, peeled, cut into chunks (8-10 cups)
- 2 avocados, pitted and peeled
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive oil and additional ground pepper, basil, and/or melon, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lay the prosciutto slices on another foil-lined baking sheet.
- Roast the prosciutto until crispy, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly when done, then break into small pieces and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the melon, avocado, lemon juice, basil, vinegar, and honey in a blender or food processor (you may have to do this in batches). Blend mixture until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve soup topped with crispy prosciutto, a drizzle of olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and additional chopped basil (if you want).
- This'll serve around 4, as an appetizer or main course, depending on how hungry folks are.