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.
Onward to tonight’s salad!
Grilled 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.
I 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!