AndyTalk: Get a Load of These Melons
A week ago, I tasted my first sweet watermelon of the season. Every year I tell myself that I'll use more watermelon as an ingredient, but I fall short. I have a curried watermelon recipe that I teach on occasion -- it's my dumbed-down version of a recipe I learned from an old friend. Most people react with a raised an eyebrow and a few skeptical remarks about curry and melon. If they lived in India, it would be an everyday combo.
Adding fruit to a meal is high on the average dietician's list of how-to-eat-better suggestions, and non-dessert melon recipes are a great way to perk up a meal. The nice thing about something huge like a watermelon is that you only need a small quantity of easy-to-get condiments to turn it into a tasty salad. I don't have a good reason not to use watermelon more often, so this is the year I'm actually making good on the promise to myself. In fact, I'm on a melon binge.
I made a watermelon appetizer last week. I placed two-inch cubes of seedless watermelon on small plates. Then, I took the melon scraps (making cubes creates a lot of scraps) and put them in a small pot with some red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. After simmering for half an hour, I ran the mush through a food mill to remove the pulp and seeds. I got a lot of liquid, because there is in fact a huge amount water in a watermelon. I returned the liquid to the stove and boiled until I had sweet and tangy watermelon syrup. Technically this flavor-dense sweet-tart syrup is a gastrique, but we'll call it syrup . . . I drizzled a little on each cube and garnished with a mint leaf and some black salt. This syrup is also great on ice cream.
Andy Broder Andy Broder
Other simple options to turn your diced watermelon into a tossed salad: