I love watermelon; it’s sweet, juicy, and refreshing. It is also a great source of vitamins A, C and B6. There is something about this juicy melon that takes me back to my childhood, sitting on the front steps during a hot summer day, with a mouth full of watermelon and sticky hands to boot! As an adult, I have learned to look at watermelon not only as a treat to be enjoyed by itself, but as an ingredient that I can build countless recipes around.
At first it was challenging to think about how to utilize watermelon as the main ingredient in a dish. So for my first attempt, I chose a salad concept. I love the spiciness of arugula, and thought the sweetness of the watermelon would be a nice balance between the two. Let’s add a little cheese. I debated between goat and feta, and ended up choosing goat (because that’s what I had in my fridge). Now a little dressing. My first thought was The Chopping Block’s famous Cream of Balsamic. Instead of standing by the stove and reducing my favorite balsamic vinegar, I could simply pop open this bottle. It needed a little something more, and this, my friends, is where things got sassy.
I eyeballed my giant reversible grill pan on my stove. What if I grilled the watermelon? Is this possible? Do people do this? Will it fall apart? All questions I was shortly going to have an answer to. Once the pan was heated, I added a thin layer of grapeseed oil with my basting brush. You have to wait until your pan or grill is up to temperature before adding your oil, otherwise by the time it is ready your oil will have burned and then it’s no good. I laid the watermelon down, got the sizzling sound I was looking for, and waited.
When I went to flip the watermelon, I could not believe what I saw. The watermelon was still in perfect condition, only it had beautiful grill marks on the gorgeous pink fruit. Success! I marked the other side as well, and transferred my gems to a plate. I struggled temporarily with presentation, than decided on a stack. So, layer of arugula, piece of grilled watermelon, goat cheese crumbles – repeat. I got about three high, and then it fell over. Therefore, I say go for two and ignore your urge to Jenga. The final touch was a drizzle of Cream of Balsamic across the entire salad. Perfection! And, devour. Somehow I still ended up like that kid on the front steps - mouth full of watermelon and sticky hands to boot!
If I could change anything about this process, I would have loved to cut the whole watermelon apart instead of buying the pre-cut pieces. Shelley, can I get a ‘how to’ video?