Would you believe the inspiration for this chilled radish soup stemmed from a local craft cocktail? “Rabano” means radish and is the very name of the drink found at Alden & Harlow. This adaptation of the cocktail into a soup exemplifies a refreshing sweetness with a hot finish. Radishes are boiled, blended with watermelon and subtle aromatics, then enhanced with a heated kiss of spicy chile. It’s perfect for summer!
My first impression of radishes did not go well. At all. When eaten raw, I find its bitterness overpowering and aggressive. But I try not shove off ingredients too hastily. I would give them another shot and try to experiment with different culinary activities before I decide if it’s no good for me. Sometimes an herb or vegetable needs to be handled in a special way for me to enjoy it. In this case, cooking the radish calms that aggression.
Not too long ago, I found that adding a bit of warmth completely transforms radishes into a light and sweet vegetable. It’s truly amazing for this soup as the bitterness of raw radish is essentially washed away from boiling. It’s as if everything I disliked about that first stinging bite vanishes and reveals a playful adorable thing. Finally, I can enjoy radishes and I’m happy that I gave them a second chance.
I do find ways to amend over raw impressions, but I do remember amazing first ones. And that Rabano drink left quite the first impression. So much that I urged my friends to try it. I rarely, actually never, done this with a cocktail. Partly because I’m not sure if I know your tastes well enough or my feelings may get a little hurt if you ended up despising something that really excited me. And maybe I’d take it as flattery if you do like it. So far, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.
It wasn’t so much the first impression with Rabano that was important, but the journey that rippled from the drink. Which led to this watermelon kissed radish soup.
The soup adapts some key features of the Rabano drink, even incorporating “Falnernum-type” flavors. Falnerum is a sweet syrup from the Caribbean with notes of almond, cloves, lime, and vanilla. The actual syrup can probably be found in fancy booze stores or online, and I’ll bet some real serious bartenders go as far to make this from scratch. Which can complicate things. Instead, the flair of the Falnerum is simply whisked into the radish puree without the sugar. Keeping things simple, light, and refreshing.
The watermelon is my personal touch. The overall dish needed some sweetness since I didn’t use real Falnerum or a sugary syrup. I went for watermelon as natural sweetener and it’s a beautiful complement to the tamed radish.
The soup is chilled, but it is anything but ‘cold’ and boring. To amplify the experience, drops of chile oil are sprinkled over the soup for a finishing touch. The first few sips are ever so refreshing and sweet. The delicate blend of watermelon and radish starts off very smooth and gentle, like a soft kiss. And the little touch of almond, vanilla, and cloves keep you entranced and wanting more. Into a few more sips, the chile starts to take notice, and after a while, the heat becomes prominent and things get pretty intense!
Full of surprises, Rabano.
- 1 lb Red Radish
- 1½ to 2 cups of Water
- 2 cups of Watermelon Cubes
- 2 teaspoons of Lime Juice
- 2 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
- ¼ teaspoon of Cloves
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- ½ teaspoon of Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Chile Oil
- Cut off the green tops and root bottom from the radish, and slice them in half.
- Place the radish halves in a boiling pot and add enough water to cover the surface.
- Boil for about 5 minutes then add the watermelon. Let boil for about 15 more minutes or until the radishes are very soft.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, or use an immersion blender.
- Optionally strain the content through a fine sieve mesh and use a whisk to push fibery parts through the mesh.
- Whisk in the lime, almond butter, cloves, vanilla, and salt.
- Chill for a few hours.
- When ready to serve, transfer to a pretty bowl and sprinkle with the chile oil.
- I would not garnish with raw radishes. Looks pretty but bitter.
- The original drink is bourbon based. I am in no way discouraging you from spiking your soup.