Seamus Mullen made his name as a chef bringing authentic Spanish food to New Yorkers. In this recipe from his book "Hero Food" (Andrews McMeel, $35), he swaps tomatoes for other late-summer fruits -- peaches, plums and watermelon -- and tops the soup with seared scallops.
1 pound white peaches, pitted
1 pound sour plums, pitted (or sweet plums plus the juice of 2 lemons)
2 cups cubed yellow (or red) seedless watermelon
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (or red or white vinegar)
1 cup plus 3 to 4 tablespoons fruity olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
4 jumbo scallops
Espelette pepper (or hot Spanish paprika)
A few sprigs thyme
1. Combine peaches, plums, watermelon, garlic, shallot and vinegar in a blender or food processor and process on high until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed and drizzle in 1 cup olive oil until completely incorporated. (Work in batches if all ingredients won't fit in blender.) Season with salt and pepper; refrigerate, along with soup bowls.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Season scallops generously with salt and pepper. Once oil slips easily across pan, add scallops and sear until golden brown. After 2 minutes, put skillet in oven, without flipping scallops; they need 2 to 3 minutes in the oven.
3. Fill each chilled soup bowl with a generous portion of gazpacho and nestle 1 scallop in each bowl, seared side up. A sprinkling of Espelette pepper, thyme sprigs and a drizzle of fruity olive oil is all you need.
Makes 4 servings.