So, summer is officially here. What does that mean? School is out for the kids. Let’s fire up the grill. You better remember your sunscreen before heading to the pool. The days are longer and the stars seem brighter. I could go on forever, but these things do not compare to the absolute most wonderful piece of enjoyment this time of year brings us. I, of course, could only be referring to one thing, God’s very own personal gift to our taste buds…(drum roll please)…the watermelon.
Watermelon is nature’s way of apologizing for the heat of summer. Not only is it a tasty sweet treat used to refresh and rehydrate on those long summer afternoons, but it is also full of valuable nutrients as well. Watermelon is rich in both vitamins A and C and contains a respectable amount of other vitamins and minerals.
But, what about watermelon from a culinary point of view? That is really what makes watermelon special. We all know watermelon balls on a fruit platter or nibbling a wedge of watermelon while sitting on the back porch can be enjoyable, but what else can this fruit do? The texture and sweetness of a perfectly ripened watermelon is like blank piece of canvas for an artist. Watermelons are becoming a little more common place in restaurants and on catering menus in salads and being paired with prosciutto or mint. But trust me watermelon is begging for you to get weird with it. Here are a couple of ideas to lift up any summer picnic and wow your friends with your sophistication and knowledge of flavor combinations (too much? Probably but they are good recipes!)
#1 - Peel a watermelon, and cut into quarters. Slice thick “steaks” about 1-1.5 inches thick. Preheat your grill to as high as possible. Rub the watermelon steaks with bacon fat and put on the hot grill. Let the fat melt and put some hard marks on the Watermelon. Flip to the other side and repeat. Once off the grill let the watermelon cool off then top with crumbled goat cheese and sliced basil. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction and you’ve got a light dessert or a nice appetizer/salad.
#2 - Peel and dice a medium sized watermelon into half-inch cubes. In a large bowl combine ¼ cup soy sauce, zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp of sriracha, ½ cup sliced green onions, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, and 1 tbsp rice vinegar. Whisk all these ingredients until fully combined. Put watermelon into dressing and toss. Let watermelon marinate overnight in dressing and toss to recoat a couple of times. When ready to serve, quarter and shred one head of Napa cabbage and toss into marinated watermelon. Now you have a Thai inspired slaw that will satisfy all people at your soiree!