After all, no one wants to turn the oven on any more than is absolutely necessary. And no one wants to exert any extra effort, either.
To search for spectacular yet simple ways of fixing dishes for warm-weather meals, I often turn to one of the half-dozen or so raw food cookbooks (un-cookbooks?) I have collected.
That’s where I found an old-favorite, Watermelon Salad.
Yes, you can do things with watermelon beyond eating it with your choice of salt or sugar sprinkled on it.
To make this dish, found in Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein’s “Raw” (10 Speed Press), you combine it with lychees, which are now in the market along with watermelon. Balancing the sweetness of the fruit is a touch of freshly grated horseradish, a touch of savory microgreens, olive oil and pepper.
It is as beautiful on the plate as it is to eat.
For those not familiar with the raw food movement, it refers to those people who don’t eat foods heated over 118 degrees. That’s the temperature at which the natural enzymes in foods break down. It’s also the point at which food loses its healing powers, the followers of this diet attest.
There’s a growing raw food movement in San Antonio. For more information, click here.
2 cups chopped red watermelon
4 slabs red watermelon, each 3-inches square and 1/2-inch thick
12 fresh lychees, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
1 cup assorted microgreens, such as shiso, basil and chervil
4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Using a high-speed blender, process the chopped watermelon until it is a medium-bodied liquid. Allow the juice to settle, about 10 minutes; a thick layer of froth will form at the top.
Place the watermelon squares on each of four plates with a single layer of lychee pieces, covering each square completely.
Arrange 1/4 of the microgreens on each slice. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the horseradish over the microgreens. Drizzle the olive oil around the plate and spoon some of the watermelon froth around the plate and over the greens. Sprinkle the remaining horseradish over the watermelon froth. Top with a little salt and pepper.
Wine notes: At first thought it would seem that the spicy horseradish would require a lot of attention, but in fact it is a delicate background flavor that melts into the rest of the dish. This wonderfully refreshing preparation must have a wine partner that has the same cleansing characteristics. Laurent-Perrier’s Brut Rosé Champagne has scents of fresh berries and yeastiness and an invigorating sparkle that enlivens the watermelon and lychees on the palate.
Adapted from “Raw” by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein.