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Fruit gazpacho as starter, dessert

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Saturday, July 27, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

I'm not sure when that renowned Spanish refresher, tomato and cucumber gazpacho, turned into other dishes. I have seen it as a sauce for fish, pureed into a cream and reinterpreted with different fruits as a starter and as dessert. Here are two colorful and unusual fruit gazpacho recipes, one as a starter and one as a dessert.

In “The Perfect Peach,” a new book by Marcy Masumoto, Nikiko Masumoto and David Mas Masumoto (Ten Speed Press, 2013), the authors celebrate the myriad flavors and ways to serve a peach. I love this peach gazpacho because it is both savory and sweet. The vinegar, garlic and cucumber all help add a piquant layer of flavor. A pretty garnish and tasty topping of avocado and sweet red bell pepper add another flavor and textural dimension. Serve well chilled in pretty, shallow soup bowls. For a bigger group, serve this sunny fruit soup in shooter glasses as your guests arrive, for a festive taste of summer.

Sitting on the terrace of a beach hotel, I was served the elegant, refreshing dessert gazpacho below. The chef there prepared a fresh basil sorbet to accompany the chilled soup, but any high-quality fruit sorbet works here. Decorate the soup with the fruit, the sorbet and mint leaves. If you prefer a pure red soup, cook the mint leaves in the sugar syrup and strain them out before continuing.

When the heat is on, I hope you'll try both of these chilled fruit gazpachos. And, don't hesitate to change up the fruit. Instead of peaches, try nectarines. If you are in a hurry, use cut up seedless grapes and the mango as garnish for the dessert gazpacho.

Diane Rossen Worthington is a cookbook author and a James Beard award-winning radio show host.

Peach Gazpacho: A Savory-Sweet Beginning

Excerped from “The Perfect Peach,” by Marcy Masumoto, Nikiko Masumoto and David Mas Masumoto (Ten Speed Press, 2013),

6 soft to gushy peaches (about 2 12 pounds), peeled, pitted and quartered

12 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon champagne or golden balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

12 teaspoon coarse salt

14 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 to 34 cup water

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or flatleaf parsley

Sweet red bell pepper slices and avocado slices, for garnish, optional

In a food processor, combine the peaches, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and 12 cup water and pulse until coarsely pureed. Thin with the remaining 14 cup water if needed for a good consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill thoroughly.

Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning with more vinegar, salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in the cilantro. Ladle into bowls, drizzle each serving with a little oil, and garnish with the bell pepper and avocado. Serve at once.

Serves 6 to 8.

Advance Preparation: Can be prepared through the refrigeration step up to 8 hours ahead.

Mixed Exotic Fruit Gazpacho: A Refreshing Sweet Summer Dessert

1 12 cups water

34 cup sugar

2 pints strawberries, hulled, drained

1 pint raspberries

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 mango, peeled and cut into small balls with a small melon baller

1 papaya, peeled, seeded and finely diced

1 kiwi, peeled and julienned

For garnish:

1 pint fruit sorbet (raspberry or strawberry works well)

Fresh mint leaves

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set the syrup aside.

Reserve 12 pint of the smaller strawberries for garnish and combine the rest with the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until pureed. Strain the berry puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a large, nonaluminum bowl and add the sugar syrup and chopped mint. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, for at least 2 hours.

To serve, cut the reserved strawberries into julienne. Divide the berry puree among 6 shallow soup bowls, and then arrange the fruits on top in a whimsical pattern.

To make the garnish: Place a small scoop of sorbet in the center of each bowl and garnish with the mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Advance Preparation: Can be prepared through the refrigeration step up to 1 day ahead

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