Saturday, June 16, 2012

No, Seriously.

Remember when I mentioned I had a 40-pound watermelon in my living room?

I was not kidding.  Behold, a watermelon as heavy as an eight-year-old child!

That is One Big Watermelon

I acquired this gentle giant from my friend Erin, who has a share in a local CSA.  She’s been donating some of the harvest to me so that her kitchen isn’t overrun by wayward produce.

It is ridiculous for a single person to accept a 40-pound watermelon into her home.  How much watermelon can one person eat?  The answer is: more than you think.  Watermelon is so very delicious, yet so very watery that it’s easy to eat a lot.  Plus I haven’t had watermelon in years—years!—and the novelty of it makes me happy.  It sounds clich√©, but it really does take me back to the endless summers of my childhood, to backyard birthday parties and Fourth of July celebrations, where there was always a big watermelon cut into thick wedges.  We would bite down gently into the crisp fruit, spitting out the black seeds everywhere, and the juice would run down our chins and fingers, rendering us a sticky, summery mess. 

It was glorious.

No Seriously

(Yeah, wow.  I know.  It’s awesome and terrifying all at the same time.) 

I’ve made a good dent in this beast.  I chopped up a bunch of it and stuffed it in the fridge, to be eaten when watermelon cravings hit.  I also tried two recipes, including one which I served to Courtney of From Austin to A&M when she came over for dinner last Sunday.  I had so much watermelon that I just had to share the bounty!

I’ll be honest: I’m not completely smitten with either of these recipes.  I feel like they have potential, but I’m not sure what I want to do with them.  I will say this though: the homemade watermelon soda that I made with the watermelon soup puree was one of the tastiest things I ate this week.  That recipe (if such simplicity can be called a recipe) is a keeper.  Cheers to watermelon!

Watermelon Soup 

Watermelon-Citrus Soup with Mint and Chilies

From a recipe described by Lynn Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table

Serves 3-4

4 cups cubed watermelon, black seeds removed

1 lime, zested and then juiced

1/2 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger (see headnote)

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

Handful of fresh mint, finely sliced

1)  In a blender, buzz together the watermelon, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, and ground ginger until smooth.

2)  Ladle the watermelon puree into bowls or mugs and top with a bit of chopped jalepeno and fresh mint.  Eat!

* For homemade watermelon soda, pour some of that watermelon puree from step 1 into a glass and top with some bubbly water.  This is so delicious and refreshing—a perfect summer beverage, especially after an outside run.  The watermelon puree is so sweet that you don’t need additional sugar, and the bubbles are just fun.  Make this! 

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon-Feta Salad

Adapted from this recipe via Jacques Pepin and Food & Wine 

This salad is an unusual sweet-and-savory combination.  I made my salad with what I had on hand.  If I were to make this again, I would try to include the olives and perhaps omit the onion.  I happen to like raw onion, but it’s not to everyone’s taste, and I think the salty, meaty punch of the olives would be a better fit with the juicy watermelon and creamy feta.

One more note: if possible, try to combine everything together at the last minute.  The watermelon will let off a lot of juice once it’s salted, so the salad can become watery.  The flavors are still great, but the texture doesn’t last as nicely.

1/4 cup white or yellow onion, finely diced

1/4 tsp. salt 

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 cups cubed watermelon, black seeds removed

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1 tbsp. olive oil, preferably a fruity, extra-virgin one like the one made by Olivas de Oro (which is really, really delicious)

A handful of chopped fresh mint

Freshly ground black pepper, optional

1)  In a small bowl, combine the chopped onion, salt, and lemon juice.  Toss together, then cover and set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.  This marination will help tame the onion’s heat and punchiness.

2)  In a large bowl, gently toss together all the ingredients.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, grinding over some black pepper if desired.  If possible, serve immediately.


Raquelita said...

Haha! I'm pretty sure the size of that watermelon is a sign that everything really is bigger in Texas.

Shannon said...

omg, to get a watermelon of that size in a csa is amazing. and then for your friend to donate it to you? awesomeness. i'd be in heaven :) that citrus soup sounds interesting-- i'm trying my hand at a soup version of the watermelon-feta salad this weekend...