By Mandy Simon
A few weeks ago, I threw a barbecue at my house which yielded obscene amounts of leftovers. Lots of sausages, chips, and beer had to be dealt with but the two shining jewels of our haul were two whole watermelons. Watermelon is one of my favorite foods so getting rid of two of them in a short time was a challenge I looked forward to. I reached out to my friends Katie and Steve for some ideas and they came over to help my roommates and I eat our way out of our surplus.
The first dish we came up with was a very simple and very delicious salad. Chop some watermelon up, thinly slice some red onion, crumble feta cheese over those and sprinkle with aged balsamic vinegar. Delightful. Some people may choose to add olives. I am not one of those people.
The second dish we made was a little more complicated but worth every second: watermelon gazpacho. Now, I’m a gazpacho fiend. I love it almost any way I can get it and, if it sucks, it’s easily doctored (the exception being Au Bon Pain’s version – it’s pretty much irredeemable). Combining watermelon and gazpacho may very well be the best idea anyone has ever had. EVER.
(Yes, it’s the second gazpacho recipe on IFA in a month but it’s summer for Christ’s sake.)
Here’s Katie’s spin on it (a mash-up of several recipes):
2 cups each, coarsely chopped, peeled and seeded when necessary:
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, lime juice OR vinegar (we used sherry vinegar)
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
Add to taste: extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, orange juice and, if you’d like, some heat (we used red pepper flakes)
In the end, we used a food processor to quickly blend the vegetables in batches, added them to a bowl with the other ingredients then used my immersion blender to get a smoother and more consistent texture, tasting the whole time.
So. Unbelievably. Good. Carry to work in a clean pasta sauce jar and you’ve got lunch.
(BTW, the longer this sits – up to a few days – the better it’ll be. Good the first day, better the second, amazing the third.)
Anyone else have watermelon recipes they’d like to share?