Thanksgiving Fruity Appetizer
This crunchy cantaloupe soup is a year-round favorite. Although tastier in summer, cantaloupe is made available to us in supermarkets in all seasons and here is a delicious unique way to enjoy it. The rich, warm colors of this healthy “soup” make it an especially desirable candidate as a light appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner.
The recipe also calls for figs. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to find them fresh at this time of year. Don’t be shy to use dried figs instead. Soaked in warm water for about 2 hours, they’ll taste wonderfully sweet and will deliver their nutritional punch just as effectively. Just make sure you buy them organic and sulfite-free, as commercially grown dried figs may be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing.
Finally, this recipe is inspired by the Southern-European tradition of combining melon with dry-cured ham. A delicious vegetarian alternative is to substitute shavings of aged Parmesan.
1 medium cantaloupe or ½ a big one (seeded, peeled and diced)
2 small sliced cucumbers or 1 medium one (washed and sliced; peeled if non-organic or if you want to preserve the warm tone of the dish)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
juice of ½ lemon (or to taste)
leaves of 4-5 twigs of fresh mint (washed)
4 figs — Black Mission figs are fleshier and are usually recommended in recipes but any kind will do (wash them if fresh; soak them in warm water for 2 hours if dried)
4 thin slices of dry-cured ham (Prosciutto-style), each shredded into 3-4 pieces / vegetarian alternative: aged Parmesan shavings
1/ Crumple the pieces of dry-cured ham on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Put them in the oven at lowest temperature until crispy (about 20 minutes).
2/ Blend the cantaloupe into a smooth puree.
3/ Add to it cucumber(s) + ginger + lemon juice. Blend.
4/ Chop mint leaves and stir into the mixture. Blend for 1-2 seconds.
5/ Slice the figs delicately (a serrated knife makes it easier)
6/ Pour the “soup” into 3 or 4 bowls, sprinkle with figs, crispy ham or Parmesan shavings, pumpkin seeds.