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Candied Watermelon Salad

April 24, 2015

 

Looking at the watermelons stacked high and mighty in the grocery store gets me a little bit excited for all the possibilities this fruit has to offer. As my first tribute to the gloriously overpriced melon I have chosen the classic watermelon and feta cheese salad, adding however a delicious twist. You’ll find the inedible watermelon rind to be a surprisingly delicious accompaniment when prepared like a pickle and candied like sweets.

 

 

Pickled Candied Watermelon Salad

“Seasoned arugula, tart pickled watermelon, candied watermelon rind, salty feta cheese, crumbled pine nuts, minced dried cranberries, sweet balsamic glaze and a watermelon juice reduction with crunchy bread sticks.”

 

Prep Time: 1 hour                                              Total Time: 1 hour                                  Makes: 6 servings

                           

 

Ingredients ​​

 

Crispy Bread Sticks 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour                     

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast              

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt                               

  • 1 teaspoon sugar                                

  • 1/3 cup water between 95°-115° F

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil                         

  • Salt to taste

Candied Watermelon

  • 2 cups watermelon rind                                                                

  • 3/4 cup water                                                                                          

  • 1/4 cup beet juice                                                   

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar                                                                    

  • 8 whole cardamom                                             

  • 2 star anise                                              

 

Pickled Watermelon 

  • 2 cups watermelon rind                                                                           

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar                                                                               

  • 1 teaspoon water                                                                                          

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice                                                                      

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon salt                                                                                       

  • 1/4 cup beet juice                                                                                   

 

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar                                                                                 

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar                                                                                        

 

Watermelon Juice Reduction      

  • 1 cup watermelon juice                                                                               

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice                                                                                              

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar                                                                       

  • 1/4 teaspoon corn starch                                                                              

 

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup minced craisins                                                        

  • 1/4 cup chopped pinenuts                                                                       

  • 1/2 cup crumbed feta cheese

 

Directions

 

Crispy Bread Sticks

  1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl setting aside 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  3. Knead the sticky dough inside the bowl for five minutes until elastic and does not break when stretched.

  4. Cover with a dry rag, and allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hours until doubled in size. I typically allow my oven to preheat for 4 minutes before turning it off, creating a nice environment for the dough. All ovens are different so be sure its hot to the touch and no hotter.

  5. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil over your work area and coat the dough well. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness and divide into 1/4 wide strips. Gently transfer to a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Candied Watermelon

  1. Remove the red flesh of the watermelon and reserve for later leaving behind the white and green rind. Slice the rind into 1/2 inch wide chunks to make it easier to peel. Peel away the green skin and then proceed to peel the same area twice more to really remove the harder outer skin.

  2. Using a fork, spear the melon slices on all sides to allow for the transfer of liquid through the tough melon membrane, a.k.a osmosis. Now would be the time to add your beet juice if you so desired. It is highly recommended.

  3. Fill a medium sauce pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the watermelon rind and boil until squishy and translucent. Drain and cool.

  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer for ten minutes. Add the watermelon and cook for 45 minutes maintaining a simmer. Ultimately this will allow for a super saturated solution that will crystalize the watermelon.

  5. Remove watermelon and allow to cool on the counter. Reserve the syrup for ice cream or anything you can think of!

  6. You may eat the candied watermelon right away but better crystallization occurs over a few days as the crystals need time to grow.

Pickled Watermelon

  1. Prepare the watermelon in the same method as for the candied watermelon.

  2. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pot. Boil until watermelon is translucent and squishy.

  3. Pour all the contents into a container and allow to cool completely.

Balsamic Reduction

  1. In a small sauce pot, bring both ingredients to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent burning but be careful as this mixture is hot and sticky like napalm.

  2. Reduce until the mixture sticks to the back of a metal spoon.

Watermelon Juice Reduction

  1. To make watermelon juice without a blender, finely chop the watermelon and then crush it in a bowl with anything sturdy and not prone to breaking. Strain through a mesh strainer and discard the pulp.

  2. Bring watermelon juice, lime juice, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pot.

  3. In a separate boil add the corn starch. Whisk together 1/2 tablespoon of the hot watermelon juice with the corn starch until all the clumps are gone. Add this to the pot and proceed to boil until the sauce coats the back of a metal spoon. If you add the corn starch directly to a large amount of liquid it will clump up and never become smooth, but you can always strain it out too.

 

Notes

  *Prepare everything in advance to serve throughout the week. 

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