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Melon and Chili Soup/Juice: When Unusual Flavors Combine…

“Don’t be afraid to play with your food” She said,

“Be passionate with your food” She said,

“Taste it at every stage of preparation” She said,

I think I have a handle on the first two, but when it comes to that last one – well, I am a work in progress.

The “She” I am referring to happens to be Anne Quatrano, an extremely passionate local chef, cookbook author and proponent of sustainability; whose food philosophy revolves around “using basics to produce the spectacular“! From what I have heard, she and her husband, Clifford Harrison, put this food philosophy into action at 6 of Atlanta’s happening restaurants- Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Star Provisions, Provisions To Go, Quinones at Bacchanalia, and Abattoir. And from what I have seen –and tasted– she lives out her food philosophy in what she prepares.

Our paths crossed briefly at The James Beard Foundation‘s Taste America® Culinary event this past Saturday hosted by Sur La Table. When I said our paths crossed, what I really meant was that I sat in the audience and did the “tasting” while she did the cooking and held an informative demonstration. Yes, at times, I even surprise myself at how quiet I can be, and, how well I can listen -when my mouth is full of food!

sur la table

Chef Anne Quatrano and her assistants prepared 2 dishes during the hour long event to fill our stomachs with: a Crostini of Fig, Caramelized Onions and Lonzino and a Melon and Chile Soup with Poached Shrimp, all while filling our heads with a smorgasbord of info on curing and smoking meats and the challenges of composting and the pairing and balancing of different flavors.

Her flavor combinations in the Melon and Chili Soup spun my head around – all 360 degrees around! She used some cantaloupe, watermelon and some honeydew melon – and paired it up with some apple cider vinegar, salt and some fresh cayenne and Padron chilies and made this incredible base – I was so intrigued, I came home had to give it a go.

melons chilis

I didn’t use any honey dew, but I peeled and chopped some watermelon and some cantaloupe into my blender.

melon chili juice in fridge

After blending it into a nice puree, I threw in some jalapeno chilies as I didn’t have any cayenne and Padron and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, I strained out the melon pulp and threw in some apple cider vinegar and salt and some more chilies.

And that’s when I had a revelation!

melon chili juice separation

Seeing I was inspired by Anne Quatrano to work on trying to “Taste it at every stage of preparation”, I decided to pour me some and taste it – before I prepared the shrimp that was thawing in the sink.

And THAT’s when I realized the REAL reason I don’t do tastings as I go along – because I have the tendency to change the course, to not let a dish reach it’s full potential – because a taste can lead to way, way more than JUST a taste – and before you know it, there’s an empty glass jar where there once was one overflowing with a delectable melon and chili concoction!

Melon chili yum (1 of 1)

 

Melon and Chili Soup/Juice by Anne Quatrano

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cantaloupe melon
  • 1 small seedless watermelon
  • 2 jalapeno chili peppers, or less depending on taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Chop melons and add to a food processor or blender
  2. Blend well and throw in some sliced pieces of jalapeno and let sit overnight or a couple of hours
  3. Strain the pulp from the liquid using a sieve or a cheesecloth
  4. Add in apple cider vinegar and salt and more chili slices -if so desired

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

**I was not compensated in any way for my review or attendance at this event, which I found out about through my Atlanta Food Blogger Society membership**

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mjskit

Sunday 21st of September 2014

Oh you are so funny!!! I can't tell you how many times, I've totally changed direction or just "stopped" after tasting something "in progress". Love this "juice" and that kick of jalapeno slices were the perfect finish. Much better than poached shrimp in my opinion. ;)

Shashi

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014

Haha - I am so not tasting again - not till I am done! :) Thanks so much MJ!

Denise [email protected] Brazil To You

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

I agree with you... One should never be afraid to combine new flavors together. I like the particular contrast of flavors in this soup: The cold elements (watermelon and cantaloupe) with the hot one (chili peppers). Genius!

Shashi

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Denise, the apple cider added yet another contrasting flavor to these - Anne Q is a genius indeed!

ashley

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

That culinary event looks like it was so much fun! I am doing something like that next month. Love the soup...I love new and different flavor combos.

Shashi

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Ashley - my only complaint is that it was an hour only! I hope you have a blast at the one you go to next month!

cottercrunch

Tuesday 16th of September 2014

now that is a great event and great soup recipe! can i tag along next time?! please?!

Shashi

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Sure - you are always welcome my friend!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

Tuesday 16th of September 2014

I'm so interested in trying out this recipe! I've had watermelon feta salad and it's delicious but I like the sound of this combo :)

Shashi

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Lorraine - I haven't tried watermelon and feta yet - am so intrigued!