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Cantaloupe Gazpacho With Crispy Prosciutto
Jul 28th, 2012 by

The French Riviera in Nice is a great summer spot with many wonderful flavors to explore.

The French Riviera in Nice is a great summer spot with many wonderful flavors to explore.

Our trip to southern France last week was inspiring, causing me to want to recreate several memorable meals we had in Nice.

This classic combination of sweet and savory is best delivered via soup spoon.

This classic combination of sweet and savory is best delivered via soup spoon.

So far I’ve recreated five of them. The first recipe I’m posting here was inspired by lunch at Le Comptoir where I was served a cold, gazpacho soup made from cantaloupe. The remaining four dishes were inspired by my favorite restaurant on our trip: La Zucca Magica (The Magic Pumpkin), which is a vegetarian Italian restaurant that combines fresh ingredients and flavors in fantastic ways. I’ll post those recipes over the next couple of weeks.

A Sweet and Savory Delight

Cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto is often served as an appetizer but I’ve often thought it a bit clumsy to eat. You either have to pick it up with your fingers or use a fork and knife to cut through the slippery meat. This recipe blends the two complementary flavors together and delivers the sweet, savory blend easily to your mouth via a soup spoon.

Ingredients:

  • Cantaloupe (1 very large melon, or 2 small ones, peeled and cubed)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Shallots (1 tablespoon, minced)
  • Lemon juice (2 tablespoons)
  • Sherry cooking wine/vinegar (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt (preferably Kosher, 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Prosciutto (1/4 pound, thinly sliced)
  • Olive oil (2 teaspoons)
  • Fresh mint (4 teaspoons, chopped)
  • Black pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (one for each bowl of soup).

What I did:

Place first six ingredients in a blender and process until smooth (don’t overdo it). You’ll need to do this in batches. Place in freezer to chill while proscuitto cooks.

Heal olive oil in a frying pan and cook prosciutto strips until crispy (about 5 minutes). Turn over as necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Ladle soup into bowls. Place sun-dried tomato in center. Place four strips of prosciutto coming out of the tomato like the rays of the sun. Sprinkle a little mint and pepper over the top of the soup. Serve cold.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Making Dinner During a Heat Wave
Jul 10th, 2010 by

This ancient Italian recipe is quick and easy to make and won't heat up your kitchen.

This ancient Italian recipe is quick and easy to make and won't heat up your kitchen.

Afternoon thunderstorms gave some relief from the Greater Boston area heat wave today.

And so, I returned to the kitchen after a week of take out, cold cereal, and quick omelette dinners.

But it’s still hot. So what’s a well-intentioned cook to do?

Tonight, I’m making some “Easy Week Night Pasta.” Here are some other recipes that won’t heat up the house (too much) but are certain to bring a warm smile to your face:

1.) Beach Salads and Bruschetta

2.) Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho With Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

3.) Mortadella and Ham Salad Tapas

4.) Grilled Braciole Fit for a Saint

5.) Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes

6.) Soup & Sandwich Night With Style (Instead of Take Out)

Find more dinner ideas in the Food section.

Work Night Dinner
Sep 12th, 2009 by

These recipes bring soup and sandwich dinners to another level.

These recipes bring soup and sandwich dinners to another level.

Here’s something to kick off a weeknight in the late summer: two quick and easy recipes, perfect to make and eat after a long day of work or to enjoy while you’re working through dinner.

An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho with Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

BEWARE: This Octopus's Gazpacho may attract a puss or two.

BEWARE: This Octopus's Gazpacho may attract a puss or two.

(Tip: Gazpacho should sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating, so you could make this the night before. This soup is also very low in calories. For you Weight Watchers, it’s about 4 points per serving with the shrimp — or only 3 points without.)

An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho

This recipe came from Parade Magaziine via Epicurious. The original name was Farmstand Gazpacho, but my brother Peter (who first made this for me) had the brilliant idea of adding shrimp to it, so I changed the name.

Eating this is like eating a bowl of nature and combined with the shrimp, you may feel like a playful sea otter surfacing from the deep with a fresh morsel in his mouth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups, about 1 large, peeled and diced (1/4 inch) cucumber
  • 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
  • 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
  • 1/2 cup, about one small, diced (1/4 inch) red onion
  • 2 cups of tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (You can add more if you like it more spicy. I added four dashes and found that suited my taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shrimp (about 16 whole, medium-sized cooked shrimp. More or less to suit your taste.)

What I did:

Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl. Add tomato juice, vinegar, oil and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the ingredients. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Add eight of the shrimp to the soup. Save and refrigerate the other shrimp to use as garnish around the cup or bowl. Refrigerate gazpacho for 4-6 hours. I put it in the refrigerator for only three hours before eating it and it was fine.

Put soup in bowls or cups and hook a few shrimp around the rim. Serve with your favorite sandwich.

I made the following sandwiches with some leftover fried chicken and what I had hanging around my icebox. (The tomato and cucumber in the sandwich echoed some of the main ingredients of the soup making this a perfect combination.)

Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Good, real, Italian bread (I used a loaf of pane francese)
  • Leftover chicken, sliced thin
  • Tomato slices
  • Cucumber slices
  • Hummus

What I did:

Cover one bread slice with chicken. Put slices of tomato on top and add salt and pepper. Put slices of cucumber on top. Spread hummus on the other slice of bread and make a sandwich.

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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