05 September 2011

sweet and spicy watermelon salad

Happy Labor Day! Celebrate the end of summer with a perfectly summery dish:
To Jenn's bbq today, thought I'd bring a classic summer side to the table, but with an out of the ordinary twist. I caught wind of the idea when perusing the new Food Plate Guide the gubment put out to replace the food pyramid. Sweet watermelon and spicy red pepper flakes? Niiice. I tucked this recipe away until I started seeing all the melons at the farmers markets. I of course googled it and saw a bunch of different variations, so played with it to end up with a watermelon, yellow cherry tomato (which I find to be the sweetest), cuke, and onion version. The balsamic and red pepper flake dressing enhances the flavors without overwhelming. I love that the heat just lingers on your tongue and lips, but is immediately cooled by the next bite of watermelon. And it's so colorful... this salad look so happy! And I'm all about bringing the happy :-) So again, Happy Labor Day!

Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Salad
adapted from da gubment (scroll down for recipe) and One Perfect Bite

2 1/2 lbs seedless watermelon, cubed in 1" pieces
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1 9" seedless cucumber, diced into1/2" pieces
1/2 C vidalia onion, sliced into very thin 1-2" long strips
mint leaves from 2-3 sprigs, rolled and sliced thin (chiffonade)
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil
5 grinds red pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Combine watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and mint in a large bowl. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper until emulsified. Pour over the watermelon mixture and toss to combine. Garnish with more mint leaves if you like.

A few notes about this recipe:
1) If you don't like raw onions, and I generally don't, a nifty trick to dull that raw bite: dunk the sliced onion in ice water for 2-3 minutes then take out.
2) This salad releases a LOT of water given the nature of the ingredients. I don't mind draining some of it off through the day.

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