Tuesday, June 7, 2011
This was surprising. It came about in one of those "lighting moments" completely out of the blue. With current dietary constraints, I cannot eat my most beloved sushi. And to satiate the desire, nay primal urge to eat sushi and tuna tartare (another one of my spring-summer favorites), I created this dish. Bright pink seedless watermelon takes center stage, replacing the current no-no tuna or salmon, and the usual suspects of cucumber and avocado flank to support the dish. Instead of going heavy on acid and salt as required to "cook" raw fish, I keep seasoning extremely simple with salt and pepper only and rather focus on the heat with very finely diced serrano chile. Cilantro and a splash of lime finish for maximum freshness. For a subtle velvety texture to weave it all together, good olive oil.
I love this cool and crisp and helping to keep it so, a chilled plate is a must. For fun I like serving it with chopsticks instead of forks or spoons. This is the perfect spring/summer appetizer or even side dish for grilled fish or shrimp. Enjoy it!
1 cup diced seedless watermelon (rind obviously removed)
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1 avocado, seeded and diced
1 serrano chile, very finely diced (or to taste, with or without seeds, etc.)
freshly ground black pepper (set it to the courser ground if you can)
1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
*You want the watermelon, cucumber and avocado to be the same size for the dice so it presents the best. I like a little bit larger dice for this than I'd use for a usual tartare, but the size depends on your preference.
Place the watermelon, cucumber, avocado, and chile in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil, and using a spatula, gently mix the salad together and combine. Do not overmix! It will break up the avocado too much and create a mushier appearance! Chill 15 minutes before serving.
To serve, simply scoop out a portion on a chilled plate and gently gather it together into a circular shape. Or, you can use a fancy ring mold if you absolutely have to, but seriously you can just roughly make the the stupid shape and save the ring mold for cutting biscuits or something.