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A can’t-miss flavor boost for pallid, seedless watermelons



#cantmiss #taste #enhance #pallid #seedless #watermelons

I’ve lengthy held a controversial opinion that goes in opposition to science, and now’s the season to return clear about it: Watermelons aren’t pretty much as good as they was once.

Certain, each summer season you would possibly discover one or two which might be supremely juicy and candy and crisp. However most of the time, the watermelons I get my arms on — whether or not from an on a regular basis grocery retailer or on the farmers market — are pallid and mealy.

In distinction, the watermelons I grew up with within the South had been so juicy you needed to go outdoors to chop them open, then rinse the runoff from the desk and patio. Formed like an rectangular tablet too giant for the Jolly Inexperienced Large to swallow, they had been crammed with black seeds. Throughout two-a-day highschool soccer observe within the peak of summer season — a.okay.a. hell on earth within the South — our coach would carry us watermelons as an alternative to water throughout our breaks. With a sprinkle of salt on a wedge to stability the extraordinary sweetness, that watermelon was higher than any Gatorade drink may try to be.

The watermelons I’ve encountered since then don’t dwell as much as those I had down South. The colder climates of New York and the drier California panorama has an impact on that, however I believe the actual offender was when watermelons misplaced their seeds. Most watermelons offered in grocery shops now are “seedless” — technically they do have seeds, they’re simply actually small and never crunchy so that you don’t thoughts consuming them. However within the shift from seeded to seedless, I really feel like most watermelons misplaced their sweetness and taste.

Scientists insist that seedless watermelons aren’t any much less tasty than seeded varieties. It’s all nostalgia, they say. Possibly, however my associate, an avid watermelon seeker, spends all summer season shopping for a watermelon not less than each different day. The constant issue within the good ones he finds is that they’ve conventional giant seeds. Even different cooks and meals business folks I chat with at farmers markets and at dinners typically will admit to the low high quality of watermelons as of late, particularly if I share my unpopular opinion on them first.

All this to say, typically watermelons want a little bit assist. And in case you can’t discover a big pillow-shaped seeded watermelon, I nonetheless need you to benefit from the fruit as a result of, dadgummit, there’s one thing actually fantastic about that candy, chilly, crunchy melon flesh whenever you discover the proper specimen. So, as an alternative of eschewing watermelon for the remainder of my life, I’ve turned to preseasoning my melons to offer any subpar melon a lift.

This system isn’t new, after all. Including salt and sugar, usually laden with spices, to melons is how many people eat them. However I’m speaking about utilizing salt and sugar not simply as a flavoring agent but in addition to drive off extra moisture in watermelon so you possibly can focus its taste to the best extent, just like how you’d for sliced cucumbers. I wish to dice watermelon, topple it right into a colander that I’ve set in my sink, then sprinkle it liberally with an enormous pinch of salt and the identical of sugar. I toss the melon to make sure it’s evenly coated, then let it stand for 20 or half-hour. Usually, I’ll place that colander in a bowl, then set it within the fridge so the melon stays ice-cold.

As soon as it’s carried out, there’s usually not less than ½ cup to 1 cup of liquid that’s drained off the melon. The melon itself is extremely flavorful — the proper factor to set out in a bowl for snacking on a sizzling afternoon. However this summer season, I’m going a step ahead and making a salad with my macerated watermelon. Properly, salad could also be a stretch since that is actually simply watermelon coated in a spicy dressing and topped with different aromatics that go properly with it.

I like watermelon salads, however even the very best kalamata-olive-and-tomato-paired variations can get stale at instances. As a substitute of a vinegar-soaked salad, I’m going with a tahini dressing. Its fatty richness supplies the proper distinction to the lean, candy, crisp melon. I make a standard tahini sauce spiked with a couple of slices of jalapeño and many lemon juice and garlic, and perfumed with toasted coriander and cumin seeds. The luscious dressing is drizzled over the watermelon, then topped with recent mint leaves (that are additionally within the dressing), chopped pistachios for a nutty crunch and much more jalapeño slices. However as an alternative of utilizing them uncooked, I soak the chile slices in that drained-off, salty-sweet watermelon liquor. It’s a terrific use of one thing you’d usually discard. The salt and sugar assist tame the uncooked harshness of the jalapeño slices in order that they’re nice — not a shock — on prime of the salad.

This dish is my new favourite approach to profit from the widespread seedless watermelons from grocery shops. I’ll be making all of it summer season lengthy each time I stumble upon a less-than-stellar specimen, seasoning it with salt and sugar after which coating it on this wealthy, spicy and spiced dressing. It’s my manner of turning lemons into lemonade, or extra appropriately, middling melons right into a breezy summertime salad worthy of the reminiscence of these watermelons from days passed by.

Get the recipe:


YieldsServes 6 to eight