Andrew’s Watermelon Fresco

Fruit, Salads

watermelon fresco 02

I have to confess that I don’t eat enough fruit. I blame chocolate, of course. When my sugar craving kicks in, it’s easiest to reach for the chocolate bar. I also blame cookies. But that’s another confession altogether.

So, when Andrew and Lamai came over for a crab boil, I made sure to have some dark chocolate tucked away in the freezer. You know, in case of an emergency. But the only time that freezer door ever opened was to shock the crab in ice.

As it turns out, this summer’s watermelon is dazzlingly sweet. Has it always been this sweet and I’ve been fooled by the chocolatiers, or did something change?

Anyway, Andrew threw this chilled watermelon salad together in a few minutes. It’s so darned easy to make that its convenience just might rival chocolate. Its juiciness and brilliance, on the other hand, don’t even compare.

  • 700-750 g. watermelon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups; we used the “personal, seedless watermelon” kind)
  • 10-12 mint leaves, chiffonaded
  • 10-12 basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 5-6 lemon verbena leaves, chiffonaded (optional, but incredible)
  • 1-2 pinches fleur de sel (or sea salt)
  • Balsamic vinegar*, to taste

Mix the watermelon, herbs and salt in a big bowl. Lay out on a plate. Garnish with some whole leaves and salt. Finish with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

*OK, with regard to balsamic vinegar, I have to admit that the real Italian stuff, the aged, musky and titanically expensive kind, is the best here. But I definitely don’t own any of that. (Andrew does.) You can fake it with a reduced balsamic vinegar. It’s super easy. In a saucepan, bring a cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until about one-third remains. Cool it at room temperature. It will thicken and be very sweet. You can save this for months. (Don’t worry, you’ll use it way before then.)

watermelon fresco 01

Photos by Lori Paulson

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