Grilled Watermelon and Tomatillo Salad


Hello, my Fellow Springdellians, Jess here.  So sorry to hear that my counterpart is down with a cold.  The chicken soup that Sarah made in her “Comfort Food” post reminded me that winter is around the corner.  It inspired me to fight off the fall with as much summertime flavor as I could muster.  Let’s start with the abundance of watermelons!

I’ve heard that some folks have had trouble with all of our farm fresh local watermelon due to the seeds.  This makes me feel a bit old because “when I was your age, seedless watermelon was new fangled!”  The flavor of the watermelon can get lost in the seeds if you’re too distracted by them.  My husband chomps right through the watermelon, seeds and all (then again, he eats kiwi fruit without peeling them, so there’s that…)  Though my kids love the recent seed spitting contests, they also prefer a large seedless chunk wherever possible.

Enough of my watermelon seed tangent.  I wanted to provide a quick option for those that are off-put by the seeds.

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Here is a Springdell-grown watermelon in all it’s glory. Note the large flux capacitor-shaped center (again, dating myself) and it’s lack of seeds in that entire inner circle. This is a good place to start mining for large seed-free pieces. Here is how:

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First, cut your melon lengthwise top to bottom with the stem representing the top).

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Next, cut it into quarters, again using the stem as your guide for where the top is.

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Look at all that undisturbed pink in the middle. No seeds there!

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You are now primed to remove the largest seed-free chunks of the melon by cutting just above the seed line.  This simultaneously exposes the main line of seeds so that they are quite easy to remove quickly and carefully using the tip of your knife.

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These pieces never stick around long. I couldn’t keep my three year-old’s hand out of the picture long enough to take this photo. He is forever immortalized in cyberspace as a watermelon thief. (Truth be told, if I didn’t have the camera in my hands, it would have been my mitts hovering over that plate).

Onward to tonight’s salad!  

imageGrilled watermelon is pretty unexpected in flavor.  The subtle smokiness you get from the grill against the light sprinkle of kosher salt is enough to catch you off guard.  There’s also the mellowed tanginess of the grilled tomatillos giving way to the bright minty flavors.  The creamy feta, subtle zing of the diced jalapeño and the sweetness of the honey and mint counters the underlying bitterness often found with kale.  This whole combo tastes like summer is still hanging with us for a spell.

imageI took about a tablespoon of honey and mixed it with about a tablespoon of lime juice, and a little splash of the mint simple syrup which I made camping about 2 weeks back.  I brushed this mixture lightly onto several one-inch thick “steaks” of melon.  I chose to remove the rind after grilling, as it seemed to make the melon easier to handle and flip on the grill.  The melon went a couple minutes per side and the whole husked and rinsed tomatillos went a minute or two more.

I had a jalapeño pepper from the Community Gardens and took out the ribs and seeds of it before finely chopping it up.  I mixed that in with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of white vinegar, and about a teaspoon or so of the mint simple syrup.  (Some chopped up mint and some honey would work just as well if not better.)  After a good whisk, some of this went onto some massaged kale to marinate for a bit while the fruits and veggies were being grilled.  The rest was of the dressing was then tossed with the tomatillos and the watermelon and feta went on top to make this simple and flavorful summer salad!  There are lots of subtle “S” flavors to play with here, be it sweet, savory, spicy, smoky, salty, just have fun with it!image


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.

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