When it is scorching hot and the air is heavy, my culinary inspiration level usually hovers around zero. And as I mentioned before, pastry is not my forte but at the end of the meal most people are expecting dessert. Go figure. So on such a day baking a dessert, or anything really, is out and there are just so many times I can serve sorbet or fresh fruit splashed with Grand Marnier. Enter: Melon Soup. In addition to dessert, this can also double as a cool starter on a steamy summer day. My version of this recipe is about as simple as you can get. I don’t add a lot of ingredients because I prefer my melon soup to taste like, oh I don’t know, melon! Serve them in bright colored bowls for a casual meal or try a martini glass for a more elegant, formal setting.

The melons I found here were simply called Melon Jaune d’Espagne or yellow melon from Spain. They resembled Crenshaw melons though not as sweet. The Crenshaw, one of my favorites, is a hybrid between the casaba and Persian melon. A yellowish-green skin protects it’s pink-salmon-ish flesh and can grow to ten pounds. They are in season from July thru October but peak in August and September. I recommend giving your melons a quick rinse before cutting them so no dirt or such gets on the flesh.

• 2 melons
• 1 tbsp honey
• squeeze of lemon or lime
• 20+ mint leaves (or however many you like for your taste)
• sugar to taste

1. wash melons, cut in half, scoop out seeds. slice into wedges and cut of skin. cut into cubes.

2. place cubes in blender, add honey, lemon or lime juice, and mint and puree. taste.

3. if you want it to be sweeter, add sugar a teaspoon at a time until you reach the taste you want.

4. chill and serve.

Some recipes include yogurt to give it a creamier texture. Others call for grappa (Michael Chiarello), apple juice (Emeril Lagasse), white wine (Nick Nairn), and one I found that claims to hail from the South of France includes cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a vanilla bean! So I guess the message is “go crazy, add what ever you want, what ever strikes your fancy, what ever you’re in the mood for.” Bon appetit.

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