Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grilled Watermelon & Tomato Salad + Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

It's amazing the transformation some foods can take once they've been grilled. Take watermelon, for instance -- we think of it as sweet like a dessert that's perfect to cool you down during the hot Southern summer. Add a little heat from the grill, some more heat from chilies, and the watermelon slices transform from sweet to savory.

This is the perfect salad for an outdoor BBQ because you could just grill the whole melon, double the dressing, and feed a every last person. 

Grilled Watermelon & Tomato Salad + Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

1 personal-sized watermelon (smaller than a volleyball)
2 medium yellow tomatoes (1/4 inch slices)
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
4 ounces soft goat cheese
Honey-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
1 cup loose packed cilantro leaves (to garnish)

Start by cutting 2 1-inch thick slices from the heart of the watermelon. Cut watermelon slices into quarters. Preheat your outdoor grill to high. Grill one side of the watermelon slices until the sugar starts to caramelize. The watermelon should be well-marked by the grill grates. Remove melon slices from the grill and set aside. Do not flip and grill the other side because then the watermelon will fall apart.

To serve place 1 to 2 slices of yellow tomato on the serving plate, top that with 1 to 2 slices grilled watermelon, 1/4 cup of the halved cherry tomatoes, and 1 ounce of the soft goat cheese. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the Honey-Lime Vinaigrette over the dish, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of ancho chili powder, and salt to taste. Finish the dish with a few fresh cilantro leaves. Repeat the process for each serving.

This is the perfect thing to serve at a summertime dinner party. It makes use of the best produce of the season, plus it's cool and refreshing. 

Makes 4 servings.

Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
zest of 1 (organic) lime
2 tablespoons local honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Place the lime juice, zest, honey, olive oil, and cayenne in a small jar with a lid and shake it until the dressing emulsifies. Set aside until ready to use.