Watermelon is an Ideal Base for Refreshing Summer Salads
Few things are more delicious in late summer than bright, juicy slices of watermelon. The refreshing fruit is well-suited to composed salads, as well, since cheeses, herbs, other fruits and vegetables and sauces like vinaigrettes help enhance the watermelon’s light flavor. We rounded up some new versions from across the country that feature unexpected ingredients like fried garlic, fig vinegar and roasted eggplant, which add a variety of flavors and textures.
Compressed melon stars in Portland’s Trifecta Tavern’s watermelon salad. Chef Rich Meyer compresses watermelon dressed with a tablespoon of vinaigrette, and then vacuum seals it. He completes the salad with pimenton dulce vinaigrette, sheep's milk feta, sliced almonds, mint and watermelon rind that he pickles in hot brine.
George Mendes celebrates the peak season for two summer fruits by serving an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad at Lupulo in New York City. The salad is made with chunks of tomato and watermelon accented with housemade cow’s milk cheese and lemon thyme, then drizzled with fig vinegar.
Brooklyn’s Faun features a watermelon salad that Chef Brian Leth makes by compressing red and yellow watermelon to concentrate the flavor. He cubes the fruit, and then finishes it with grated ricotta salata, pepitas and herbs from the garden.
At Maypop, Michael Gulotta’s Southeast Asian-Louisiana restaurant in New Orleans, watermelon gets a temperature and flavor contrast when served with roasted eggplant, blistered hot peppers and a chili-laced sauce on the weekend dim sum brunch menu; whole mint leaves cool things off again.
At Jackpot Chicken Rice in Toronto, chefs Craig Wong and Jacky Lo serve a charred scallop ceviche with watermelon and chrysanthemum leaves that serves as a refreshing base for spicy rings of jalapeño and fried garlic, all mixed in a sour and spicy nam chin sauce.
At High Hat in New Orleans, a thick slab of watermelon is the chilled base for a refreshing salad of lump crab dressed with lime vinaigrette and topped with mint and shaved red onion.