Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Watermelon for the Weekend

Watermelon is one of summer’s most delicious treats. But that wasn’t always the case for me. When I was growing up, it was served salted, and I never liked it. I thought watermelon was best used for seed spitting contests and not for eating. Then, on a hot weather camping trip a few years ago, our friends brought out a bowl of cubed watermelon they had stashed in their cooler for snacking. It was such a refreshing treat on that hot, dusty day, that I became a watermelon convert. They always keep it cut up in the refrigerator at home as a snack for the kids and now, even though our kids are grown and gone, we keep it cubed in the refrigerator all summer too.

Another great way to use watermelon on a hot day is a watermelon cooler. It’s a light, healthy and refreshing summer drink that is so easy to make:

Watermelon Cooler

1 cup seedless watermelon, cubed
½ cup fresh mint leaves

Put melon and mint in a large pitcher. Fill pitcher with ice and water. Mash mint leaves with wooden spoon to release the flavor. Let stand in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. You can continue to replace the water in the pitcher all day for a continuous supply of beverage.

Usually I like to eat watermelon just sliced and unembellished, but if you need a change or want something a little fancier for guests, here are my two favorite recipes. I have adapted both over the years from Bon Apetit magazine.

Watermelon Mint Salad (you can see a photo of this one at What's for Dinner?)
Serves 4

4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup chopped scallions, green part
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp chili garlic paste
1/8 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper

Combine watermelon, scallions, and mint in a large bowl. Whisk oil, vinegar and chili garlic paste in small bowl. Pour dressing mixture over watermelon and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Melon Salad
Serves 4-6
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp golden brown sugar
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cubed
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp chili garlic paste
Salt and pepper

Combine fruit, onion and mint in a large bowl. Whisk lime juice, brown sugar and chili garlic paste in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour dressing over fruit mixture and toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy these salads with your summer barbecues, especially with the Fourth of July holiday weekend coming up. I’m planning to serve the melon salad. Both salads keep well in the refrigerator for at least a day if you have leftovers. They also make a great healthy side with a sandwich for lunch.

1 comment:

  1. This watermelon salad is so good and is perfect for any summer day or night meal!!