During heat waves in my childhood, my mother would send us outside with thick slabs of sweet, dripping watermelon. My brother and I would stick out faces into it and let the cold juice run down our chins. Watermelon today is seedless, thereby depriving the current generation of children the joy of competitive watermelon seed spitting, but it can still cool you off on a hot day.
It seems counter-intuitive, perhaps insane, to take sweet, cold, refreshing watermelon and toss it on the barbeque, especially during a heat wave. Well, that's what I did last night for our dinner. My husband, who doesn't much care for watermelon, was more than a little sceptical. It turned out to be a delightful dish for an extremely hot evening.
You don't leave it on the grill for very long and you don't turn it, so it doesn't actually get hot all the way through. You get nice grill marks on one side and then you just spoon the tomato mixture over top of it. Watermelon and tomato make a delicious pairing, and it's really light and refreshing.
This is such an easy first course to make. It only takes a few minutes to put it together, and it makes for a beautiful, appetizing looking dish for company.
This recipe is from The New York Times, Monday, July 5. 2010
Grilled Watermelon and Tomato Salad
4 3/4 inch inch thick slices of seedless watermelon
4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced into wedges
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
8 small leaves fresh opal basil
8 small leaves of fresh green basil
Maldon sea salt, for garnish
1. Prepare a charcoal grill outdoors for direct grilling over high heat. Or, indoors, place a grill pan over high heat until very hot.
2. Using a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut the watermelon flesh into four rounds. Place on the grill grates or in grill pan, directly over the heat. Grill on one side only, until grill-marked, and the melon emits a slightly smoky aroma, about 2 minutes. Transfer rounds, grill-marked sides up, to a platter.
3. Place the tomato wedges in a large bowl and toss gently with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
4. Place a watermelon slice, grill-marked side up, in the center of each of four appetizer plates. Top each with an equal portion of tomatoes. Drizzle each salad with 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil, and top each with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Garnish with opal basil and green basil and a few grains of Maldon salt, and serve.
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