by John Ryan
Makes about 6 cups soup
Unusual and refreshing, I find that this soup even appeals to people who don't like beets.
The reason I'm so vague about the lemon juice is because you will be adding it to taste. Without lemon juice, the beets taste louder than the cantaloupe. Adding lemon juice turns up the cantaloupe volume.
Have some mascarpone left from the portobello risotto last month?
Or some sour cream? Optional, but stunningly beautiful is to decorate this soup with mascarpone. Thin some mascarpone with milk, if necessary, to bring it to sour cream consistency, then put a spoonful or two in a plastic bag, snip off a corner and draw on the soup—lines, circles, initials....
Cook and peel the beets*. Cut into quarters and set aside.
Cook the onion and garlic in oil until the onion is soft and translucent.
Puree the onions and beets in a food processor. Scoop 3/4s of the cantaloupe out and purée it with the beets. Season with lemon juice and salt. Add water to make it a nice consistency and chill. I stir in ice cubes if I need to cool the soup in a hurry.
You could purée all the cantaloupe into the soup, but a nicety is to dice the remaining cantaloupe and garnish the soup with it.
*Cooking and peeling beets. Cut the greens off about half an inch above the beet. Put the beets in a pot with water to cover and bring to a simmer. They are done when a knife easily slides into the center—medium-sized beets will take about 45 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them to cool them off enough to handle. Cut off the top and the straggly tail and squeeze. They will slide out like a cue ball from a sock.
Buying beets. 2 bunches will give you 6 to 8 beets weighing about 2 lbs.
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