Next to blackberries and peaches, the fruit I look forward to most during the summer is watermelon. It brings back such fun memories, back when life was simpler. And there were fewer diapers to change.
My parents always kept a huge watermelon chilling in our fridge. After dinner, we’d go out to the front porch and carve it up. My dad would pass out large wedges before retiring to his chair next to my mom. Other times, he’d place the split melon on the porch and just pass out spoons. Friendly turf wars immediately ensued over which side of the watermelon was salted and which was left plain. Like my mom, I am a proud watermelon salter! A dash of salt on a bite of ice cold watermelon is truly one of life’s simple, yet ultimate treats.
The kids would dig in, juices running down our forearms and chin. We were very careful to reserve the seeds for the post-snack seed spitting contest. We’d stand at the top step of the porch and give it everything we had. Seriously, what a sight that must have been. I wonder if my mom silently prayed that we’d find a little class and refinement before we were unleashed on the world as adults
She’d interject only when the arguments over whose seed went farther got out of hand. Those little black seeds are quite hard to see in the failing light! My dad would sit there quietly, with only the orange tip of his cigarette to remind you he was still there. Pretty soon, the only things we could see as we ran across the front yard, shrieking and playing tag, were the glow from his cigarette and the twinkles from the lightnin’ bugs.
Watermelon isn’t just for dessert anymore, though. One of my very favorite ways to serve it is in salad form with grapefruit vinaigrette and mint – it’s the perfect cold side to a pair of beef skewers, fresh from the grill. The sweet watermelon, tart grapefruit, and minty vinaigrette make one of life’s simple treats really something special!
Watermelon Salad with Grapefruit-Mint Vinaigrette
- 1/2 small watermelon, sliced and cut into wedges/chunks
- 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large grapefruit
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Small handful of mint leaves
- 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
- Place watermelon and red onion on a serving plate.
- Peel and segment the grapefruits over a bowl to catch the juice.
- Place the grapefruit wedges on the serving platter and squeeze the remaining grapefruit (the leftovers from segmenting the grapefruit) into the bowl. Discard the remaining pulp after extracting all the juice you can from it.
- Place 1/4 of the grapefruit juice into the blender with juice from 1/2 a lime, salt, pepper, and mint leaves.
- Blend on high while slowly streaming in the olive oil.
- Serve the dressing on the side or drizzled over the salad.
Yields: 6 servings
Estimated time: 15 minutes