June. Can you believe it’s June already?
I don’t know if you’re like me, but time sure flies! One minute it’s January and I’m winding down from the holidays; I blink, and then suddenly it’s eighty degrees, and I’m tucking my winter vests in the back of my closet and rifling through my refrigerator for summertime ingredients. Crazy!
Anyways, the weather’s warm, spirits are soaring, and the desire to eat well and look good is higher than ever. That’s why I’m super excited to share an amazing recipe with you — one with fresh, natural, and green ingredients that will help you celebrate warm weather with yummy, healthy food in your belly. This recipe comes from Lauren Lawless, a fearless chef from my hometown of San Diego, California.
You may recognize her from MasterChef Season 8, or you may have heard of her fun and funky cooking style — tackling everything from the traditional grilling and roasting to making delicious dishes out of bugs, tongues, intestines and the like — no, I’m not kidding! Her positive spirit is contagious and mouth watering dishes are to die for, so I’m super pumped to share a top secret recipe of hers, just in time for summer.
Summertime Watermelon Salad:
Here’s What You Need:
- 1/2 watermelon
- feta cheese (desired amount)
- 1 bag arugula
- 1 cup basil
- cherry tomatoes (desired amount, Herloom preferred)
- cucumbers (desired amount, sliced thin)
- watercress, small handful
- 2-3 radishes
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (**You can sub this for dressing, if you don’t want to do a homemade glaze)
- prosciutto (desired amount)
- melon scooper
Ingredients for the pickled red onions:
- 1 1/2 cups sliced red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of red pepper flakes
Here’s How You Do It:
- Slice onion (thin!) And mince garlic, if needed.
- Put sugar, salt, and peppercorns to a small sauce pot. Add the white vinegar and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Place a lid on the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, pour the vinegar over the sliced onion and garlic. Add bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Press the onion down so all the pieces are submerged, then let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, use the onions immediately, or transfer the onions and all the brine to a lidded, non-reactive container (glass, ceramic, or plastic) for storage in the refrigerator. The onions can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks!
- Use your melon scooper to scoop out watermelon balls for the salad. (However many you want is up to you – want to have a sweet taste to the salad, but not overpowering.) Once scooped, set aside or put in refrigerator.
- **If you’re making homemade balsamic, do this next: Put the vinegar in a sauté pan and reduce it on low heat until it’s a thick consistency, like syrup. (You can even add some oregano in there if you’d like to give it some more flavor!) Once it’s reached the consistency you like, take it off of the heat, set aside and let it cool.
- Slice your radishes (if you have a mandolin, that’ll make this process super easy! If not, slice thinly with a knife).
- Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
- Chop your feta into small cubes (thumbnail size) and set aside.
- Arrange your other ingredients: watercress, arugula, cherry tomatoes, radish and prosciutto on the plate. (You have to get the good Instagram pic!)
- Add the watermelon balls and cooled pickled red onions, followed by tomatoes, cheese, etc.
- Drizzle homemade balsamic vinegar (or dressing, if you chose not to make your own.) And enjoy!
I’ve been super inspired by Chef Lawless’ cooking, so stay tuned, as I’ll share more of her recipes these next few weeks. In the meantime, check out her Facebook page and Instagram account for more summertime recipes! #happyeating