Cuisine Quest: It may be soup, but it tastes like dessert
For a refreshing first course or light meal, serve a cold cantaloupe soup.
The version made at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon gets sweetness from a simple syrup infused with ginger, said Executive Banquet Chef Bruce Phillips.
A touch of vanilla is added just before serving the give the puréed fruit a dessert-like flavor.
Phillips uses the same recipe in springtime, substituting fresh seasonal strawberries for the cantaloupe.
"The chilled strawberry is the most requested soup and is amazing for a hot summer Sunday brunch," he said.
Requests » Mike Nowels would like a recipe for cheese enchiladas, similar to what was served at the old Tampico restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City.
Margaret Ponce would like the clam chowder recipe from The Oaken Bucket, a West Valley City restaurant that closed years ago.
8 cups water
2 ounces fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
4 ounces granulated sugar
3 fresh cantaloupe*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract**
Mint leaves, sliced into chiffonade strips, for garnish.
Additional cantaloupe, scooped into melon balls, for garnish
In a large soup pot, combine water, ginger root slices and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour to make a simple syrup. Strain out the ginger root and chill overnight.
Remove outer skin and seeds from 2-1/2 cantaloupes. Cut into chunks. Puree with half the simple syrup. If it is too thick, add more syrup to reach desired consistency. Stir in vanilla. Remove the seeds from the remaining 1/2 cantaloupe. Scoop out the flesh using a melon baller.
Ladle soup in to bowls. Garnish with fresh mint and a few melon balls.
*Fresh strawberries in season can be substituted for the cantaloupe.
** Snowbird uses a vanilla bean purée or paste, an infusion of vanilla extract and finely ground vanilla beans. One teaspoon of purée is equivalent to one teaspoon vanilla extract or 1-1/2 inches of a vanilla pod.
Servings: 6 to 8
Source: Bruce Phillips, executive banquet chef, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.