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Bryan Caswell’s July 4th Watermelon Gazpacho

As the Texas summer drags on, it’s hard to think of anything better than this refreshing chilled spin on the Spanish classic by chef Bryan Caswell of Reef.  The recipe is from the book Lone Star Chefs, coming soon from Bright Sky Press.

1 5- to 6-pound seedless red watermelon, rind removed

1 pound red bell peppers, seeded and stemmed

1 Thai chile, chopped

1 ¼ pound cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1 pound cherry tomatoes

4 teaspoons salt 

White pepper to taste

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 pound fresh Thai basil

½ cup grapeseed oil

½ cup lump crabmeat

¼ cup minced watermelon

¼ cup minced cucumber

¼ cup minced red onion 

Using a food processor, puree the watermelon, red peppers, chile, and cucumbers. Strain the mixture and season with the salt, white pepper, and vinegar. Blanche the basil in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, then shock it in ice water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out all the water you can, then roughly chop. Process it with the grapeseed oil to form a smooth puree. Strain out anything solid, leaving only the green basil oil. In individual soup bowls, arrange small mounds of minced watermelon, cucumber, and red onion on the bottom. Also place lumps of crabmeat on the bottom and “connect the dots” of crabmeat with the basil oil. Serve the gazpacho chilled for adding to the bowl at table. Serves 6-8.

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About Amanda Richards

Amanda DeMers has more than five years as a grassroots organizer for social and environmental justice and a passion for community building. She just moved to Texas in June after spending several years in Dunedin, New Zealand while studying international environmental policy at the University of Otago. She hopes to find a place in Texas helping to build relationships between the many people already working to promote the causes she loves.

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