Delicious/Nutritious: Mouthwatering watermelon
Watermelon, juicy and sweet, can be regarded as the food mascot of summer for many Americans. Though available year-round, these melons begin to come into season in July and can be found locally through September.
My family loves watermelon. I buy a huge one almost every week, and recently my 4-year-old started boycotting because he’d eaten so much he’d gotten a tummy ache. I, however, do not love it. I have a weird aversion to all things melon and that often includes the cucumber as well. They all have a slightly bitter taste to me, which I know sounds crazy because, as my husband says, watermelon “is nature’s candy.” I just can’t get on board.
But like most things, I can totally get into it if you doctor it up a little. I don’t like raw tomatoes, but I love all manner of tomato sauces and salsas. I love roasted tomatoes and tomatoes atop pizzas, but I just can’t do them plain and raw. I love cucumbers in a vinegary dressing with onions, and I even love watermelon, if it’s treated right. One of my favorite things, and one of the easiest and healthiest summer treats I make, is a watermelon granita. A granita is really just a fancy word for a homemade snow cone. It’s frozen liquid that has been scraped loose into an icy treat.
5 cups cubed watermelon (seedless is best for this application)
3 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons lime juice (about one large lime worth)
Pinch of salt
Blend up all the ingredients and pour them into a 9×13 pan. Pop the pan in the freezer, and every hour or so give it a scrape around the edges. You’ll get a great texture as you loosen up the already frozen parts. It takes about 3 hours to fully freeze, and be ready to serve. Give it a sprig of basil as garnish, and be sure to run your spoon across it with every bite — that basil really “makes it” says my friend Jeff.
We here at Delicious/Nutritious know that you probably don’t need any help figuring out what to do with the giant, juicy watermelons that are just starting to come into season.
Cut and eat. Plain and simple.
But we also know that sometimes you can get so much watermelon in a single go that it would be nice to do something a bit different with that heaping amount of fruit.
Case in point: I ended up buying a 20-pound seeded watermelon simply because the sample was delicious and the big fella made the best “hollow” noise when I thumped it with a finger. Meaning, I suddenly had 20 pounds of watermelon to fit into the fridge/eat before it went bad.
And, as much as I don’t mind eating large amounts of seasonal fruit in general — and I’m doubting you mind it much either — it is nice to do something special every now and again with a favorite. In the case of watermelon, that could be a smoothie, ice pops, sorbet or even a salad.
For this installment of Delicious/Nutritious, I went with the latter.
There seems to be no end to the ways you can “do” a watermelon salad. Most are either done with other summer fruit or that summer fruit you think of as a vegetable: the tomato. I chose the latter for my salad, which is made in “deconstructed” fashion. That way, it can be assembled as needed, whether you’re sharing your watermelon with immediate family or several watermelon-seeking friends.
Bonus: 1 cup of diced watermelon has 46 calories, no fat, 21 percent of your daily vitamin C, 17 percent of your daily vitamin A and just 9 grams of sugar.
Deconstructed Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Several slices of watermelon, sliced and then quartered into “pie pieces”
1 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
6 tablespoons lime juice plus the zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crumbled feta, to taste
Lemon basil or regular basil, to taste
Place the onion in a small bowl with a lid. In a separate small bowl or mixing cup, whisk together the lime, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chopped onion and whisk it all together. Set aside.
To assemble, place a one-quarter slice watermelon on a plate (or more), top with sliced tomatoes, then dress with olive oil/lime/onion mixture. Sprinkle feta and basil on top and serve immediately. Number of servings depends on amount of ingredients used on each slice.