Thursday, July 07, 2011

Summer Watermelon Salad

Watermelons are super yummy in TX right now. On our trip to San Antonio, we went to a super fantastic restaurant for dinner. They had a watermelon salad on their menu which we both thought was great. I thought that I could duplicate tweak it more to our liking, so I did made it the other night. I try to make an "exciting" side item as it is 89234897234 degrees here, so it's grill only for protein.

  • Watermelon cubed **A good seedless watermelon is going to be key
  • Cheese - They used feta, but I used gargonzola (like a stronger cheese)
  • Balsamic reduction
  • Basil - They used leaves that were cut up. For me, I find that basil goes bad before I can use all of a fresh bunch, so I tried chopped organic basil in a tube!
Now for the extremely tough directions. Cube the watermelon. Throw some in a bowl (your call on how much). Drizzle on balsamic reduction. Throw on some cheese. Dot on the basil in a tube. (Husband comment: What's the bird poop?) Ya, it was that easy and just as yummy as the one from the restaurant. Theirs looked waaaay fancier : ) When I can rescue get the pictures that are currently trapped on my husband's camera, I'll post the picture of the one we had at the restaurant for a good laugh of how ugly mine truly is.


Balsamic reduction: Seriously easy guys. Get some balsamic vinegar, a good pot/saucepan, and a heat tolerant whisk (If you don't have one of these - go get one now! ha - a spoon will work just fine). Measure a cup of vinegar, dump it in the pan, and cook the hell out of it on high stirring constantly (or you can lower the heat to have it simmer, but you need to stir it frequently). I'd estimate it takes about 10 minutes, but whatever amount of vinegar you start with, you want it to pretty much reduce by half. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Voila! Balsamic reduction.

Other tips:
  • Most recipes will say something about sugar. The vinegar actually sweetens as it reduces. Personally, it's sweet enough for me, so I don't add any.
  • Uh, this kinda stinks. Turn on your overhead fan  on your stove if you have one. Oh, and don't hover over the pan, otherwise you will end up wearing eau de balsamic vinegar. Nah, that has never happened to me or anything. I just heard about this tip from someone else. : )


Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

One of my girlfriends brought watermelon salad on the 4th and it was delish. She had watermelon, strawberries, feta, walnuts and balsamic was divine!

Ronnie said...

I think it looks fabulous. Now if I only knew what balsamic reduction was. LOL

MandaPanda said...

Yeah...I'm afraid I'm a dunce on the balsamic reduction thing too. Sounds delish though!

FitBy40 said...

Yup, I have balsamic, and I would love to know how to 'reduce' it. Hmmm, I'm guessing I have to cook it? Totally clueless in the kitchen over here! Sounds great though and the watermelon is super sweet this time of year!

Beth Ann said...

Thank goodness for the other comments...I was thinking I was really dumb for not knowing what the heck balsalmic reduction is. But this sounds awesome and I'm going to make it on Sunday! Provided I figure out the balsalmic reduction thing by then...

kagead said...

I like a little red onion in my watermelon salad. Yum!!!

Balsamic reduction is very easy. Bring the balsamic to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. It will thicken to a nice syrup like consistency and the flavor will mellow. I am not a huge balsamic fan and I love balsamic reduction.

If you want an added layer of flavor, use a fig flavored balsamic or add a small amount of brown sugar to the reduction before you serve it.

Other things that go well with the reduction are grilled veggies (brussels sprouts and eggplant are personal favorites) and grilled peaches with a little vanilla ice cream.

Too bad I don't cook, huh??

Cat said...

Sounds delish!! Thank you so much!

Liz said...

That sounds yummy!!!

Andrea said...

Looks yummy...thanks for sharing!