Watermelon is hailed in my household. After cherries (read this blog post to understand), it’s the fruit we consume the most during the summer. After a while, though, it gets to be kind of boring and I start getting an itch to play around with it in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I can (and sometimes do) eat watermelon everyday. There’s just something to be said for the spirit of experimentation.
It’s the same routine every year. I usually begin with different ways to cut it (which is how this YouTube video on How to Cut a Watermelon was born). Then I start adding it to different smoothies in the place of liquid. I may even dabble with a cocktail every now an then! Until, at some inevitable point, my beloved watermelon ends up in a salad. It always happens! Last year I was marinating watermelon in a combination of Japanese-inspired sauces to make watermelon poke. It was mad-delicious! I would wrap it up in leaves of toasted nori (seaweed). I never did end up writing a recipe though. Not quite sure why! In fact, I had forgotten about my watermelon poke until I sat down to write this recipe for my 2017 foray.
Resist the Urge to Greek-ify Your Watermelon Salad
I think the general urge is to go to the Greek route when making a watermelon salad. It’s a popular option and lord knows I’ve done it before. This one finds inspiration elsewhere, namely South America. The combination of juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and spicy jalapeño compliment each other beautifully. Everything gets gilded with a healthy drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of Maldon sea salt, a spritz of lime and a dash of sesame seeds to play on the seeds that were lacking in my watermelon! While cilantro was my first herb of choice, I used fresh basil from the garden because it’s delicious and I’ll be dammed if I let those precious leaves bruise under the Toronto sun. Which leads me to my next point. As can sometimes be expected with me, this South American-inspired recipe was partly based on what I had on hand when creativity struck (which is a more glamorous way of saying I was too lazy to go to the store just to make a watermelon salad). All things considered, it’s really, really good! I’m beginning to think that you just can’t go wrong with putting watermelon in everything!
I hope you like this recipe and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Watermelon, Tomato and Jalapeño Salad
INGREDIENTS: (serves 3 appetizers)
1/2 large watermelon – (see instructional video on how to cut into cubes)
1 pint cherry tomatoes – halved
1/2 jalapeño – thinly sliced
1 avocado – peeled and cubed
1/2 lime – cut into wedges for squeezing
2-3 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
pinch of coarse sea salt – such as Maldon
black and white sesame seeds – for garnish
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds – for garnish
small bunch fresh basil leaves – for garnish
- Arrange watermelon cubes on a serving platter. Add cherry tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeño. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Garnish with basil leaves, black and white sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.