Watermelon is a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind and fleshy center. Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon – although not in the genus Cucumis – has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually pink, but sometimes orange, yellow, red and sometimes green if not ripe). It is also commonly used to make a variety of salads, most notably fruit salad.
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon, about 1 1/4 pounds
1 pound ripe tomatoes, quartered or cut into sixths
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Generous 1/2 cup chopped celery (2 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Thin celery slices or sticks for garnish
Working in batches, purée all of the ingredients except the garnish in a blender for two minutes or longer until frothy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, making sure you have used enough salt and lemon juice for a vivid flavor. Transfer to a bowl, and chill for several hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve, garnishing each bowl with thinly sliced celery or, if serving in glasses, with a thin lengthwise slice of celery stick.
Yield: Four to six regular servings, or 8 to 12 aperitifs.
Advance preparation: You can serve this soup the day after you make it. Leftovers are good for two or three days.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 130 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 17 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 19 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein
Celery brings together the elements of this surprising soup.