A half-hour break in the midst of the busy-busy summer with its high season harvest can offer a restorative moment to reflect and gain a second wind. Sitting on the terrace with a glass of this refreshment speaks exactly that language.

Taste of the Tropics Melon Soup
Yields 1 quart to fill 4 goblets

3 pounds very ripe, strongly scented melons (Galia, sweet honeydew, cantaloupe), peeled and seeded
15 ounces canned coconut milk
Freshly squeezed juice and grated zest of 1 lime
1 strong pepper (serrano, jalapeño, Hungarian wax), trimmed, seeded, and minced
1 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger root
Generous pinch coarse sea salt or to taste
1 tablespoon roughly chopped basil, with extra sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon roughly chopped mint, with extra sprigs for garnish

  1. Cut the melon flesh into 1-inch cubes. Reserve a quarter of the cubes and put the rest into a blender or food processor fitted with a purée blade. Add the coconut milk and lime juice/zest and purée until smooth. Add the peppers, ginger, and salt. Pulse a few times. Add the basil and mint and pulse a few more times. Add the remaining chunks of melon, but do not pulse.
  2. Chill the soup for 1 hour in the fridge. Serve in beautiful, clear wine glasses that have frosted up in the freezer for that hour. Garnish with the reserved basil and mint sprigs. For extra sass, place the glasses on a small plate with a festive napkin under the stem.

Cook’s Tips and Tricks: We packed up a few quarts of the soup for a potluck once and took the glasses along. The hosts were most grateful to have the glassware simply disappear back into our cook’s canvas at the end of the afternoon.

—Picked at the Peak, by Deborah DeBord, Ph.D

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