Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chilled Melon & Yogurt Soup with Shrimp

At the peak of summer, nothing conquers the heat like an elegant bowl of chilled fruit soup. It's a summer tradition from Eastern Europe, where abundant crops of sour cherries, plums, and sometimes blueberries led to this culinary curiosity. Fruit soups are a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours, and are often accented with a touch of wine or splash of rich cream or crème fraîche. They can be cooked or uncooked, thick or thin, smooth or chunky, sweet or savoury, plain or garnished. Most chilled fruit soups are often enjoyed at the start of a meal, but in elaborate dinners they're sometimes served as a palate cleanser between courses, and in various parts of Europe, are eaten for breakfast or even for dessert. Garnished with poached tiger shrimp and diced celery, this refreshing Chilled Melon & Yogurt Soup is an unexpectedly delicious 'no cook' summer soup that can be prepared in minutes, and a simple way to begin or end any summer meal.

Chilled Melon & Yogurt Soup with Shrimp
Serves 4

2 cantaloupe melons
12 tiger shrimp
3 celery stalks
1 tsp curry powder
6 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
fresh whole chives, for garnish

Halve the melons and remove the seeds with a spoon. Chop the melon into large pieces and place in a blender with the yogurt, salt, pepper, curry powder and purée until smooth. Refrigerate until well chilled, preferably overnight.

Shell and devein the shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail intact. Poach gently in some salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and let cool. Season with salt and olive oil.

Using a potato peeler, pare the outside stalks of the celery to remove any stringy bits, then finely dice and set aside.

To serve, pour the soup into four chilled bowls and garnish with the shrimp, celery, a grind of fresh pepper and a few chives for decoration.