By Samantha Senevirante
from Fine Cooking #111, p. 46-53
We all know that watermelons are heavy, but I think I appreciate their heft more than most. As a member of my high school cross country team, I had to carry one—regularly. Every Friday, under an unsparing afternoon sun, our coach made us run relays with a giant watermelon. It was a torturous workout, but at the end of it, when we were about as hot, hungry, and thirsty as you could get, we would cut open and devour the beast. Nothing ever tasted so good.
It was then that I fully understood the power of a watermelon. I had, of course, eaten my fill before that in fruit salads and at picnics, but as I sat in the grass with my face buried in a giant slice and juice dripping down my arms, I felt the restorative powers of watermelon at work. Sure, it’s packed with lycopene and vitamins A and C, but more important, after a grueling practice, it made the whole team infinitely happy.
I’m a cook now, and I still love fresh watermelon, especially when it’s prepared in unexpected ways. Grilling it plays up its natural sweetness. Puréed, it can be mixed into a summer cocktail or used as a bright flavor base for a granita. It adds complexity to a savory salad and to a citrusy ceviche. And did I mention that you can do amazing things with its edible rind, including a relish that knocks grilled pork out of the park? Take a new look at watermelon. You may work up a sweat bringing it home, but it will be well worth the effort.
|Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho with Lime Crema||Watermelon Mule|
Photos by: Scott Phillips