Lately, I’m a bit obsessed with Watermelon. I don’t know if it’s the spectre of a beautiful summer looming or the incredibly refreshing taste of this crisp and sweet fruit. I’ve been remembering the incredible Watermelon Slushie that I had in New York City last summer, and thinking of ways to eat more and more watermelon (I found a Lavender Watermelon Martini recipe and I’m totally going to make it. )
Watermelon Lavender Martini (source: Self Magazine)
This past weekend, an impromptu BBQ party was looming (#10 on my list) and I was thinking of what to make. I had a generous slice of watermelon in my fridge, and I had visions of mint and feta swirling in my head.
I was inspired by Chatelaine’s Watermelon Tostadas recipe, but since mayonnaise isn’t my favorite ingredient, I decided to adapt the idea, rather than the execution. Lemon Garlic Shrimp and a homemade balsamic-reduction made the dish absolute perfection, as well as being stunning to look at.
It was pure simplicity. I served it alongside marinated flank steak (recipe another time), a broccoli slaw, amazing Ace Bakery Bread (Olive Boule is my favorite) with red pepper hummous. To drink, the grown-ups had Pimms Cocktail and a lovely Pinot Noir. The kids, after eyeing the Pimms (it’s so pretty), stuck with bubbly lemonade.
PS in case you didn’t know, Pimms is like British Sangria, only really delicious. I first tasted it when I was a barmaid in London. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.
Pimms Cup and Watermelon Salad with Grilled Shrimp
What You’ll Need:
A bottle of Pimms
1/2 a large navel orange, cut again in half and sliced
1/2 a large lemon, cut in half again and sliced
1/4 english cucumber, sliced in thin rounds
several sprigs of mint, washed
Bubbly lemonade (or regular lemonade and bubbly water)
What You’ll Do:
Place the fruit, mint & cucumber in a large pitcher
Combine the Pimms with the lemonade on a 3:1 ratio (unless you want to fall over, the 1 is the Pimms, silly people)
Serve over ice. Relax. It’s healthy. It has fruit in it.
Grilled Shrimp over top of Watermelon, Feta, and Avocado Salad
Watermelon Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Feta, Avocado, Mint and Balsamic Reduction
What You’ll Need:
For the shrimp :
Large black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined (I did about 10-12)
3 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 a lemon cut in thick slices, pits taken out
Olive oil, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
For the salad:
Seedless watermelon cut in just-a-bit-larger than bite-size chunks (how much? I used about 6-8 cups)
About 1 cup of goat’s milk feta, cut in 1 inch pieces (I use a mixture of slices and cubes for interest)
1/4 cup of mint chopped in a chiffonade
1 ripe avocado, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup balsamic reduction
Freshly ground black pepper (if desired)
What You’ll Do:
Place the chopped garlic into a medium bowl. Squeeeze the juice out of the lemon slices, then place them in the bowl too. Smush the pulp into the garlic with the back of a spoon. Add one or two swirls around the bowl of olive oil, and plenty of salt and black pepper. Mix and then add the shrimp. Let them marinate for about 15 minutes.
Using a flat grill pan with holes, BBQ the shrimp until they are pink (I use the tinfoil ones because I’m lazy, but you can buy great ones at any store that sells bbq supplies.) If you like, you could skewer them, but this is easier. Place shrimp on top of prepared watermelon salad.
While the shrimp are marinating, arrange the salad. On a large platter arrange the cut pieces of watermelon. Scatter avocado and feta cheese over top. Add shrimp. Sprinkle the mint around the dish, and drizzle everything with the balsamic reduction. If you want, add some black pepper.
Stand back and let everyone be impressed.
to dice an avocado, slice in half. Use a knife to pull out the pit. While still in the skin, cut in a cross-hatch pattern, without breaking the skin. Scoop out with a spoon. Voila, you have diced avocado.
To make a balsamic reduction:
In a non-stick saucepan or frying pan (not too large), heat two cups of good quality balsamic vinegar. Add in about 1 tbsp of coconut sugar (or nice honey). Stir, and bring to the boil. Lower heat to medium, and continue to boil until the mixture has been reduced by two thirds. As it cools it will thicken almost to a syrup.