This delicious, refreshing soup works great as a starter, as well as for dessert, especially during the summer months when the weather is hot and the likelihood of finding a ripe, sweet, delicious melon is greater.
4 cups of peeled, de-seeded, diced ripe cantaloupe melon (Note: honeydew is another option)
1 cup whipped cream (instructions for making your own below)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped basil
juice of 1 lime
1 cup water
2 teaspoons mixed seasonings (see note)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sprigs of fresh basil or mint leaves as a garnish (optional)
Put the diced cantaloupe, balsamic, basil, lime juice and water in a food processor or blender and process into a smooth, creamy consistency.
Add mixed seasonings and the olive oil and process into the soup.
Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and cinnamon with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and an optional pinch of cayenne.
Chantilly Cream Recipe:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional 1/2 vanilla bean
Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Split the vanilla seam lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife, hold then pod open and scrape out the seeds into a bowl for use.
Add sugar to mixing bowl, then add the heavy cream. Start whisking, then add the vanilla, continue to whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion as long as overnight. Re-whisk for 10-20 seconds when ready to use.
To serve, pour the chilled soup into soup bowls or pasta dishes. Top with the prosciutto chips and a dollop of the Chantilly cream and optional fresh basil or mint as a garnish. Note: a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt of your choice also works nicely.
Note: to make this a more savory starter, you can crisp up several thin slices of prosciutto di parma or pancetta in a saute’ pan with a drizzle of olive oil, allow both sides to brown lightly. Remove from the heat onto paper towels, let dry and cool off a few minutes, and break the now crunchy slices into small bits to sprinkle on top as a garnish when you are serving. To complement that, consider a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche instead of the sweeter Chantilly whipped cream.