Thursday, September 9, 2010

Waiting for Watermelon

Last week I complained a little about missing some standard summer favorites – well the time has come to redeem those recipes. As summer seems to have let go on the strangle hold of humidity and 90+ temperatures, I still want to make all those summer foods.

A few years ago, while my family was vacationing at the Jersey Shore – and before you start chuckling to yourself and wondering if “the situation” was there, let me point a few things out. New Jersey has quite a bit of coastline, and not all of it is filled with inappropriate, drunken partying. A lot of it is, but not all. Where my family vacations is actually the dry town of Ocean City. Yes, dry town. No alcohol is sold anywhere on the island, including restaurants and stores. Of course immediately after crossing any bridge off the island, there are massive (and plentiful) liquor stores. The dry-ness just lessens the likely-hood of running into drunken guidos/ettes on the boardwalk.
Ok, now that that is all cleared up – when my family gets together at the shore, we all go out for a nice dinner. One year we went to a restaurant just off the island (right next to the massive liquor store) and were pleasantly surprised by the interesting flavors and contemporary dishes. My mother and I had shared a savory watermelon salad which turned out to be one of those recipes we always talk about but have never tried to make.
Until now. With all the heat this summer, it’s strange to think that I did not try this earlier. But even for all those blistering days, it seemed to take tomatoes and melons just as long to get here as any other year. So now that they have arrived and since Joe and I had a Labor Day BBQ to attend, I thought I would give this a shot.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad
I would recommend using seedless watermelon for this recipe, or it might just take you an extra half an hour to de-seed the watermelon you did get. For the pepper, you want to see big flecks of pepper on each piece of fruit in this salad, so don’t be shy, it should be a main flavor component. I have seen other recipes that call for vinegar or feta cheese. I wanted to keep this very light and opted out of those ingredients. Also, I don’t find that this recipe tastes any better the next day – it gets very watery, so try to make only what you will consumer that day.

Makes 8 servings

3 c. cubed seedless watermelon
2 c. heirloom tomatoes (the more interesting the color, the better the salad will look), diced
½ c. thinly sliced red onion
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh Cracked pepper – LOTS!
Fresh basil (or mint), chopped

Combine all of the ingredients together and season as needed with more salt, pepper and lemon juice. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. I think ½ to 1 hour before is best to let the flavors combine and chill completely.

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