This is meant to be a light, small portion of a larger, multi-course dinner. The soup should be powerfully flavored and rich, so you wouldn't want to sit down and eat a giant bowl, just a cup or two is fine.
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Keyword: Kinome, Melon Soup
1large crenshaw or muskmelonhighest quality available and as ripe as possible, about 3 lbs, rind removed, flesh diced into 1 inch pieces, seeds and pulp reserved
1/2cupyellow sweet onionroughly chopped
1jalapenoseeds removed, roughly chopped
3cupscoconut milkhighest quality and highest fat content available
1cupfennel roughly chopped
1/4cupflavorless oillike grapeseed
Kosher saltto taste
Fresh squeezed lime juiceto taste
Bouquet garni (wrap these ingredients with cheesecloth and tie to hold together)
2mint sprigs with stems
2basil sprigs with stems
4-5cilantro sprigs with stems
zest of 1/4 of and orangepeeled with a vegetable peeler
For garnishing and finishing
Pickled melon rind see my recipe here for an examplediced 1/4 inch
Meyer lemon rind peeled with a vegetable peelerdiced about 1/8-1/16 inch
Fresh kinome leavescoarsely torn, 5-6 leaves per bowl
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Put the seeds and pulp in a strainer and press down with a spoon to extract the juice, then reserve. Discard the seeds.
in a 4 qt stock pot or similar high-sided vessel, Sweat the onion, ginger, fennel and jalapeno in the oil for 5 minutes on medium-low heat stirring occasionally, do not allow the vegetables to take on any color.
Add the melon to the pot, along with the bouquet garni, making sure the bouquet is buried in the bottom of the pot to ensure proper infusion of the herbs. Add the reserved melon juice. Take a piece of parchment or a lid and cover the pot (I like parchment since it allows a balance of evaporation and liquid retention.
Cook the mixture until the melon is very soft, around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the melon is soft, remove the bouquet, then add the coconut milk to the mixture and, working in batches, puree in a highspeed blender until very smooth, then pass through a chinois strainer, chill in an ice bath, season the mixture with a little salt and fresh lime juice to taste then transfer to a labeled, dated container and reserve until needed.
To serve the soup, take a couple soup bowls and place them in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill. Place a tablespoon of the pickled melon rind in each bowl, then sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of the finely diced meyer lemon, followed by a few torn kinome leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Ladle about 1.5 cups of the soup into each bowl and serve immediately.
Chef Jeremy Fox garnishes his with coconut cream, which you can scrape off the top of coconut milk if you let it sit in a container in the fridge after opening overnight. I just used a few chiffed leaves and some nasturtiums.