The Perfect Watermelon
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
What is the perfect watermelon? I think we all agree that it has to be deep pink in color with a bright green and white rind. When chilled, it should be a crunchy almost like a potato chip. And let's be honest, we want it to be seedless.
How do you pick the perfect watermelon? Now, this has been a question I've asked myself over and over again. To be quite frank, if it isn't a perfect watermelon, I don't really want to eat it. So, there's a lot of pressure when I go to the oversized cardboard boxes of seemingly equal watermelons.
My dad used to tell me that you want a watermelon that feels heavy for its size (which is the opposite of how you want to pick an eggplant). Is it because it means that it's juicier or is it just a myth? I find all watermelons heavy so this trick doesn't quite do it for me. What works for is staring at all the watermelons until one speaks to me. It's not an exact science, but hey.. it worked this time.
What do you do when you finally find the perfect watermelon? You could just slice it up and throw it in the fridge until it's time to dig in, but you have a perfect watermelon. Is that all you want to do with it? No. Now's the time to pull out all the stops. Drink it. Eat it. Make a salad. Throw some cheese on it.
My first creation wasn't mine at all. I pulled out my Dining In cookbook from Alison Roman and flipped to the fruit salad section. Inspired by the Mexican chili-lime tajin seasoning, she created a mix of fresh lime juice lime, sumac, salt, and red pepper flakes. It's a so-sour-it-makes-you-pucker flavor, but on a perfectly sweet watermelon, it's a welcome surprise. I made a big bowl and packed these up for a family picnic.
My second preparation came a couple of days later when I was still overwhelmed by how much watermelon I had left. I pulled out my Ninja and filled it with chunks of cold watermelon, over-ripe strawberries and a sprig of mint. 30 seconds later, I had a luscious pink drink that was scrumptious, yet light and refreshing.
Last but not least, I made a fruit salad that I knew would be an oddball. Among my favorite summer fruits are the deep red, beautiful cherries that I find in late June/early July. I cubed my watermelon into pieces similar in size to the pitted cherries; and in a separate bowl I mixed honey, lemon, unseasoned rice vinegar, and a tiny bit of sesame oil. I let the fruits sit with my sauce concoction to soak it all up. Somehow it worked. It added a nuttiness to the fruits without being overpowering. I just let my imagination run wild and I made something surprisingly pleasant.
The next time I find a perfect watermelon, I wonder what I'll make with it. Stay tuned...