Today marks the official start of summer! We Texans understand, though, that Mother Nature likes to give us a nice hot summer preview (complete with humidity!), which is why today I present to you . . . A juicy, sweet, sumptuous, refreshing, hallmark of the season: the watermelon. You may have seen one lately, ripening on a vine near you. As summer begins, I come to think that this world is made up of two kinds of folks: those who salt their summer melons, and those who wrinkle their nose at the thought. It seems I go through this discussion every summer, when melons in every variety hit the shelves and beckon us toward them. (No? They don’t call out to you? Hmm.) A friend recounts hot summer days when it was customary to walk into her family’s kitchen, only to find half of a watermelon in the double-sided sink, the other half of the sink of course operating as a seed spittoon. And on the counter, a salt shaker. As for my own fond memories of watermelon, well, I ate too much at my sixth birthday party and it gave me a stomach ache. Not to mention, in my watermelon-induced haze, I broke my brand-new My Little Pony sunglasses to pieces. Not until I was in my mid-twenties did I realize that the key to enjoying watermelon safely was to eat fewer than five pounds of it in one sitting. As usual, I digress. I’ll admit, I have never actually tried salting any type of fruit, so I really can’t (and won’t) pass judgment here. I’m just saying, hey. It’s not for me. A few years back at an Italian-themed party, I had a piece of cantaloupe wrapped in prociutto. It was alright, but not anything to write home about. Knowing I needed to branch out more in the name of food writing, I tried this spin on watermelon. This far-too-simple recipe capitalizes on the sweetness and then brings in two secret superpowers: Tart-n-Tangy Lime, and her trusty sidekick Fresh Minty Zing. If a mojito isn’t in the cards for a sweltering summer evening because you’re fresh out of booze, try this oh-so-satisfying, all-ages-appropriate salad. But be careful: you’ll be expected to bring it to every backyard BBQ you attend this season. Watermelon – Mint – Lime Salad This is as easy as it gets. 1 watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped (plus two or three sprigs for garnish) juice of 2-3 limes, or to taste Cube the watermelon and toss it in a large bowl (alternately, scoop it out with a melon baller). Finely chop the mint and add it to the watermelon. Squeeze a couple of limes over the top, give it a good stir, and taste. Chill in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Repeat.
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