Monday, July 24
I've noticed recently how often watermelon appears, somewhat surprisingly, in a diverse and enticing range of recipes, such as a salad with feta and mint, a gazpacho-style soup, curried crab and watermelon salad, or even a parfait with watermelon and mascarpone.
In the past, I remained curiously ambivilant each time one of these recipes passed before my eyes. Perhaps I was convinced that the watermelon would surely turn mushy, or that the crisp sweet taste of watermelon was better kept for enjoying on the front porch, bent over towards my toes, so that the juices run anywhere but all over the front of my shirt. Whatever the reason, I've overcome my bias, and have tried my hand at my very first watermelon recipe. I'm happy to report that I'll be rushing to try more recipes featuring this ruby-colored, oh-so-crunchy and refreshing summertime favorite.
Last year I ordered the book Frank Stitt's Southern Table, which I immediately fell in love with. This book is gorgeous, and Frank tells a story that transports you to his world of Southern hospitality, full of colorful characters and wonderfully fresh produce, and leaves you almost ready to hop in your car and head down to Birmingham, Alabama. I can just imagine sitting at the beautiful bar at Highlands Bar and Grill, and ordering a watermelon martini, while Dustin and I wait for our white-linen table, set for two.
Despite my apparent love-affair with the book, which I've read a half-dozen times, I'd never made anything from it until recently. If I am guilty of tardiness, at least I'm not guilty of choosing poorly......I'd had my eye on the Skirt Steak with Watermelon and Red Onion Relish, which we made a few nights ago, and it was killer. The combination of the juicy skirt steak, marinated in lime juice, garlic, and tons of parsley, was a delicious contrast to the cold, spicy watermelon relish. It was easy, and it was wonderful. Here's the relish recipe, which I altered only by decreasing the amount of olive oil by half - I didn't think it needed it. The recipe says it serves 4-6, but Dustin and I killed the entire recipe ourselves.
Watermelon and Red Onion Relish
Adapted from Frank Stitt's Southern Table
Serves 2 - 4
1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
1 cup cubed watermelon (about 1/2 inch cubes), chilled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped mint or chives (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno, with seeds
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Prepare a hot grill or preheat the broiler. Grill or broil the onion slices for 3-4 minutes per side, or until evenly charred. Chop the onion into 1/4 inch pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, onion, olive oil, vinegar, herbs, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate until chilled
Serve cold, straight from the refrigerator, for a wonderful crunchy contrast to tender meat hot off the grill.