Posted by: njbrown | August 16, 2011

Grilled Watermelon Salad


Grilled Watermelon Salad

Moving from Julia’s Turban of Sole to a Bob Blumer (currently of Glutton for Punishment fame) recipe seems quite a stretch.  In his initial TV show, The Surreal Gourmet, Bob traveled around cooking for friends and acquaintances in a van that looked like an old-style toaster, complete with toast coming out of the top.  However, as much as I’ve read about Julia, I think she would have really liked Bob.  Bob’s zest for life and all things food-related, and his willingness to take up virtually any food-related challenge – whether it’s learning to differentiate different types of honey (and wearing a bee beard), chasing cheese down an incredibly steep English hill, pouring tea from two stories up into a tea cup in China, or mud-wrestling cat-fish – would have appealed to her sense of fun.  Bob also shares Julia’s determination, and between 2009 and 2010, he gained six Guinness world records for various cooking related tasks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Blumer).

In looking for summer recipes, I recently came across two – one by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer for a grilled watermelon salad with feta, and another for watermelon and bleu cheese.   I’ve always found watermelon alone too sweet, so the combination with salty and bitter cheese piqued my curiosity.  Also, the idea of grilling watermelon was intriguing.  When I mentioned it to a friend, she asked if the watermelon would just turn to mush on the grill.  In fact, the watermelon grilled very well, and the taste of caramelized watermelon is fabulous!  I found it much more enjoyable than regular watermelon.  Taking the bleu cheese idea from the other recipe, I substituted bleu for feta in Bob’s recipe.   George and I differ on the success of the bleu cheese element, but whether you use bleu or feta,  I think you will find it is an unusual and delicious summer salad.

Grilled Watermelon Salad by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red or yellow watermelon (3 to 4 pounds), preferably seedless and not too ripe
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the melon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • Juice of 1 large navel orange
  • Pinch of sea or kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper; or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or bleu cheese to taste – N. B.) optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a gas grill or build a charcoal fire for direct grilling.
  2. Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half. Cut these quarters into 2-inch-thick slices.
  3. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil and set aside until ready to grill.
  4. Combine lime and orange juices. Taste; if it is too tart, add more orange juice. It should taste like a “sour” orange.
  5. Add the salt and cayenne and whisk continually while adding the oil in a thin stream. Whisk until thickened (emulsified). Taste and adjust the oil and salt to your liking. Add the mint and set aside.
  6. Just before serving, place the oiled watermelon slices on a very clean cooking grate directly over the heat source. Grill until marked and just warmed through but still crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Let cool.
  7. Cut off the rinds and discard. Cut the watermelon into chunks and place in a serving bowl.
  8. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently.
  9. Top with the feta, if desired, and sprinkle with another pinch of cayenne.

From Book Pizza on the Grill, by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer pp. 121, June 25, 2009

Nancy

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Responses

  1. This Bob Blumer guy sounds like a hoot! I’ll have to wiki and google him. Additionally, I wonder if walnuts or some other sort of nuts or seeds in this recipe would add an interesting taste and flavour?

    • Hi Rebecca –

      Nuts or seeds would be worth a try.

      Best wishes,

      Nancy


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