I’ve been buying giant watermelons at the farmer’s market every week. Each time I carry one to the car I feel ridiculous.Do I have room in the fridge for this beast? How can two people eat this much watermelon? And will this one be as sweet as the last?
So far this year, they’ve all been sweet. I always look for the one with the most vibrant yellow field spot, the place where the watermelon rests on the ground. If it’s pale yellow, I’m not buying it. That means it wasn’t on the vine long enough.Finding room is always an issue. I usually split them in half when I get home. One half gets sliced into chunks, the other half, into thick slices, because ice-cold watermelon wedges are the best after working in the yard. I also throw some in the blender with lime juice, then pour it over a pitcher of ice for the most refreshing drink (or cocktail mixer).
I also use it in savory situations, especially in the hottest months when you can’t get a decent tomato in Florida. Watermelon is the perfect substitute. I’ve found for salad, the best thing to match ’em up with is avocados. It’s a texture-lovers delight, the contrast of creamy avocado and crisp melon. For this salad, layer them both in thin slices. Add some cucumber slices and pickled red onions if you’re feeling it. Cover it all with a fresh mint and lime vinaigrette. Crumble a little cheese on top.Serve it just like that for a tropical caprese salad of sorts, or over a giant heap of arugula if you want more greens.It’ll be a while before I pick the first ripe tomato of the season, but for now, watermelon will do just fine.
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- watermelon (about 3 cups)
- 1 large or 2 small avocados
- 1/2 medium cucumber
- Pickled Red Onions
- 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija or feta
- 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas (optional)
- Mint & Lime Vinaigrette
- about 3 cups arugula (optional)
- Thinly slice the onion. Wisk the vinegar, honey, and salt. Pack the onion in a jar and pour the vinegar mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps for weeks.
- Combine the lime juice, honey, mint, salt and pepper in the jar of a blender. Blend until the mint is finely chopped, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
- Arrange thinly sliced watermelon, avocado, and cucumber on a platter. Scatter a couple tablespoons of pickled red onions over the top. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese. Drizzle with mint and lime vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Pile plates with heaps of arugula and serve on top. Top with pepitas just before serving.