Wild about Watermelon

watermelon on grill

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE:

“…when one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat…” – Mark Twain

square watermelon

Mark Twain and King Tut have different beliefs on who eats watermelon. Whether it’s angelic or royalty, Homer Simpson is the one who knows how to pick a proper one.

Click here to see the video.

I have read about an Egyptian tradition to put watermelons in the burial tombs of pharaohs as a present for their afterlife. As unusual as this sounds, numerous watermelon seeds were recovered from the tomb of King Tut.  I wonder if that meant King Tut ate the watermelons and spit out the seeds in his afterlife. Strange… I was in Egypt a few years ago and apparently missed the watermelon hieroglyphics. I went on a google pics quest to no avail, so I thought I would “imagine” what it would look like.

egyptian watermelon hieroglyphics

PHOTO ENHANCEMENT BY CATHY NELSON ARKLE

The current thought is that watermelon originated in Southern Africa, where it is still found growing wild, in the Kalahari desert.  What I love about watermelon is every part of the watermelon is edible, even the seeds and rinds. Now that is what I call “wholestic” eating!  Watermelon doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 & C, and contains fiber, potassium and lycopene. It doesn’t get much better than that!

how to Grow square watermelonsWatermelons are nutritious, delicious and make great gifts. In China and Japan watermelon is a popular gift to bring a host. And if you are upscale, you would bring a square one which can run you anywhere between $150 – $300.  If you need to feed your inner Martha Stewart… click here to get instructions on how you can grow your own square watermelon.

My most recent watermelon recipe inspiration came from a cooking class I took at BLT on Sunset Blvd. Chef Brian Moyers showed us how to make a Grilled Watermelon Salad.  It was light, tasty, as well as being something novel to make. Watermelon caramelizes ever so slightly when it’s grilled. Sure to be a hit at your next BBQ.

grilled watermelon salad

Grilled Watermelon Salad

This recipe is a bit loose. You will want 2 rectangles of each colored watermelon per person. You can use feta instead of goat cheese. If you are short for time, crumble the cheese instead of making the balls. Another option for the lemon, try a combination of lime and orange. I prefer shallots finely chopped to the spring onions. Another optional addition would be Kalamata olives, cut in half.

Ingredients

  • red & yellow watermelon – cut into 3” x 1” rectangles
  • goat cheese – rolled into 3/4 balls
  • wild arugula – washed well and dried
  • spring onion – sliced on a mandoline and put in ice water
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic reduction – purchased or make your own – click here.
  • basil oil – purchased or make your own – click here
  • Coarse kosher salt, pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Lightly season watermelon with olive oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Grill the watermelon for 30 seconds, then flip and grill the other side for 30 more seconds until you get nice grill marks.  The watermelon should not be too hot in the center. Set to the side while quickly preparing the salad.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine a handful (per person) of arugula, a couple of pieces of spring onion, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil.
  5. For each salad cut each watermelon into 3 square pieces and alternate them on a plate with the goat cheese balls.
  6. Place the arugula salad in the center of each plate.
  7. Drizzle the basil oil and balsamic reduction over the salad.

More reasons to be wild about Watermelon

  • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  • In southern Russia a beer is made from watermelon juice.
Depending on your age group…
Gallagher smashing melon
who could forget Gallagher… wildly smashing watermelons!
He always made me feel better about my anger issues.
… and then, she paused for thought.

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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    […] nights as I wonder about things like, the food King Tut chose for his journey into the afterlife (watermelon and beets)  or what Charlemagne insisted be in every garden in his kingdom (a fish […]

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