Watermelon gazpacho served on a hot Spanish summer's day

This is the story of how a Polish girl taught an Australian girl how to make a traditional Spanish soup, while an Argentine girl played guitar. Probably the most international lunch I’ve ever hosted!

On the menu was gazpacho, a chilled tomato soup that has long been popular here in Spain, especially during the searing summer months when the mid-afternoon sun bakes city pavements bare of people. It’s remarkable just how refreshing and cooling a big arvo bowl of gazpacho can be.

I freaking luuuuuuurve the stuff. Yet, despite having lived in Spain for more than a year, I’d never actually tried making my own. Until last week when, as the temperature climbed above 30 degrees, I was spurred into action by my Polish friend, Asia, who sung the praises of her cooling gazpacho with a fruity twist: watermelon.

Traditional gazpacho is ridiculously healthy and easy to make, just a matter of blending together a bunch of raw veggies. Naturally, tomatoes are the stand-out ingredient, complemented by a generous splash of olive oil and helpings of garlic, onion, cucumber and capsicum.

Asia’s version is equally as easy but the watermelon adds a richness and depth for a gazpacho that is, well, unbeatable.

Friends enjoy generous bowls of watermelon gazpacho

Cooling watermelon gazpacho

What goes in:

6 large tomatoes
About a quarter of a small watermelon (for example, we used about as much as you can see on the plate in the photo above)
1 onion
1 red capsicum (or pepper, for Americans)
2 cucumbers
3 garlic cloves (less if you’re not a garlic fiend like me)
A glug of balsamic vinegar
A generous splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

How you do it:

First step is to remove the tomato skins. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and drop the tomatoes in, allowing them to sit for a minute or two until the skins begin to split. Remove from the water and allow to cool a little before peeling away the skin.

Roughly chop the onion, capsicum, cucumber, watermelon and garlic into medium-sized pieces.

Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend everything together until smoothly puréed. Taste and season a little more if necessary. Pop the lot in the fridge to chill before serving. The flavours deepen and richen over time so leave for a few hours or overnight if you have time to spare.

If you want to get fancy, serve your gazpacho topped with chopped cucumber, red and green capsicum and a little crusty bread for dipping.

Tomatoes steamed from their skins and ready to be made into gazpacho

Cooling and refreshing gazpacho with a watermelon twist

Huge thanks to the always beautiful Asia for sharing her recipe…

My beautiful Polish friend, Asia

And to Paloma for entertaining us with tunes while we cooked…

Paloma plays the guitar while we make Spanish gazpacho

By the way, if you’re ever in Alicante and looking for something to do, make sure you check out Asia’s blog Qué Pasa Alicante (in Spanish), which lists all the cool stuff happening across our fair city each day.

Come visit! Look how pretty Alicante is, with its towering mountains and glittering slice of Mediterranean coastline.

Sunset over the city of Alicante

Alicante's Postiguet beach