Sunday, July 14, 2013

Salad Days--Watermelon Avocado Salad

Watermelon along with tomatoes is the quintessential reminder of summer. Half-circle slices cry out to take a bite out of their centers. Wedges on beds of ice, entice fingers to pick them up. Chunks sit in their juices. Waiting for a turn in the blender. Waiting to be forked. Tempting me all summer long. 

The one sitting in my fridge is a baby. A thin rind  small green ball. Sugar sweet. Pinkish red. Very few seeds. So it makes my life easier. Though I like cutting chunks and poking out seeds. One of those tasks that you don't mind doing. I love the feeling of slippery seeds running through my juice covered fingers. Sometimes mindless tasks give the most pleasure. 

Watermelons of my youth were mostly sold by dusty roadsides. You spied a giant mound of dark green. The car screeched to a stop. You knocked hard on the rind to find a good one. You had the seller cut out a small wedge to see if the insides were as red as he claimed they were. Most often that wasn't the case! The next task was to find one that wasn't already cut into. Then came the haggling. Hey, you never pay full price in India! Those watermelons were chockfull of big black seeds. As a treat we were allowed to cut wedges and spit the seeds out at the dining table. What fun that was! God forbid if you swallowed a seed! Grandmothers wove yarns of watermelon vines growing out of all facial orifices, scaring the bejesus out of us kids!! Wonderful memories of an unspoiled era.

Most of my watermelons gets eaten chilled. Some watermelon goes into a salad with feta and mint. Some I grill, fire-tinged small wedges speckled with goat cheese crumbles. This week I try an Asian twist. With a spicy dressing. I love it. So I make it again. The table questions my choice. Then again I fall back on my favorite--- chef rules. The first time around, the salad is a perfect foil for spicy Thai noodles. The second time around it pairs well with beef sate. It is my new favorite.

Watermelon and Avocado Salad with Spicy Dressing
Serves 4

3 cups Watermelon chunks 
2 small Haas Avocados
1/2 teaspoon Lime zest
2 teaspoons Lime juice
1 tablespoon Sriracha or any Chili sauce
1 teaspoon Fish sauce
8 Mint leaves
10- 12 Thai Basil leaves

Place the watermelon chunks in a bowl.

Cut avocado into small pieces and add to watermelon.

Whisk lime zest, lime juice, Sriracha and fish sauce in a separate bowl.

Wash, dry and tear the mint into small shreds. Or make a chiffonade of mint with a knife.

Pick the basil leaves off the stems.

Pour dressing over watermelon.

Add the mint leaves and Thai basil.

Toss and serve immediately.


This salad needs to be eaten as soon as you toss it. It's one of those salads that will stay for a while but becomes watery as it sits.

Feel free to add herbs of your choice to the mix. Cilantro and regular basil taste good too.

Twice made and twice devoured!! No complaints!!! Summer in your mouth with a spicy kick.