It wouldn’t be summer without watermelon at the cookout, but slicing it into wedges isn’t your only option. From watermelon cocktails to a savory salad, here are fresh ideas for using this hot weather classic.
Grilled Watermelon Salad with Feta and Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Watermelon, on the grill? Absolutely! These grilled watermelon “steaks” are served over fresh veggies dressed in grapefruit vinaigrette. It’s on the summer menu at 606 Congress, a restaurant in Boston serving modern farm-inspired dishes. It feels fancy, but it’s easy enough to make at home:
Recipe courtesy of Chef Richard Garcia at 606 Congress
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 thick slices red seedless watermelon, rind off
- ¼ cup Fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil
- 6 red radishes, half sliced and half julienned
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ bunch asparagus, shaved into long strips
- 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented (reserve the juice)
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat grill on high. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, honey and black pepper. Place the “steaks” of watermelon in the marinade and let sit for 15 minutes, until ready to grill.
- In a blender, puree the grapefruit juice and mustard together with salt to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until emulsified.
- Lightly oil the watermelon slices and place on the grill for four minutes on each side to allow the watermelon to caramelize and achieve grill marks.
- In a large bowl, combine the radishes, tarragon, cherry tomatoes, shaved asparagus and grapefruit segments. Toss with the grapefruit vinaigrette and season to taste.
- To serve, place the vegetable salad on a platter and top with the slices of grilled watermelon. Drizzle with the remaining grapefruit vinaigrette and sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese.
Home Run Watermelon Cooler
District American Kitchen and Wine Bar in downtown Phoenix is pouring this cocktail as a nod to the MLB All-Star Game happening this month just blocks away. You can sip the berry-watermelon drink all summer long with this recipe:
Recipe courtesy of District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
Makes 1 serving
- 1-1/2 ounces Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum
- 1-1/2 ounces watermelon puree
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and serve on the rocks in a high ball glass. Garnish with a piece of watermelon.
Gazpacho is already a summer favorite, but Bell Book & Candle, a New York City restaurant with its own rooftop garden, reinvents the chilled soup by blending in a quarter of a watermelon:
Recipe courtesy of Bell Book & Candle
Makes 4 servings
- 1/4 whole seedless watermelon peeled and cubed
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 1 beefsteak tomato, quartered
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 large red onion, quartered
- 1/2 whole seedless cucumber, quartered length wise
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 clove peeled garlic
- 1/4 bunch cilantro
- 1/4 bunch parsley
- 10 slices grilled day-old baguette
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Marinate all vegetables in salt, pepper and olive oil for four hours.
- Blend vegetables with remaining ingredients in food processor or blender. Add olive oil to taste. Depending on the size of your blender, you might need to process in batches.
- Chill and serve in 6-ounce portions with a drizzle of lemon oil and a sprig of parsley, if desired.
Here’s a refreshing tequila cocktail that isn’t a margarita. Find this cocktail at Rosa Mexicano, a Mexican restaurant chain, or make it at home:
Courtesy of Rosa Mexicano
Makes 1 serving
- 4 watermelon chunks
- 1-1/2 ounces La Arenita Blanco Tequila
- 3/4 ounce rosemary syrup
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the watermelon.
- Add the tequila, rosemary syrup and fresh lemon juice with a scoop of ice and shake well.
- Strain in a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a spring of fresh rosemary.
Note: To make rosemary syrup, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and three or four sprigs of rosemary in a saucepan. Heat until boiling, then simmer on low until liquid reduces a bit. Let cool. Remove rosemary before serving.