Some meals and/or certain dishes will stay in your memory long after consumption. It can be the unique flavors, the setting and dining experience or even the plain and simple pleasure of a well-made dish. Last week, I had one of those memorable meals. Some of the backyard family gathered at a local museum for dinner and entertainment. It was memorable for the occasion (the backyard mom’s birthday), the musical accompaniment (a musician playing exotic sounding Latin American instruments; one which produced a growling jaguar sound transporting me to the rain forest) and the delicious food. I chose watermelon gazpacho for my first course and enjoyed it so much I decided to try and create it myself. Working from my memory of the ingredients listed on the menu as a starting board, I came up with this version, making a few changes and adjustments for my own tastes.
- pickled red onion (recipe follows)
- 1/2 watermelon
- balsamic reduction (recipe follows)
- cilantro, sliced
- piece of toasted bread to float on top if you choose
Cut the watermelon into chunks and place in a blender.
Whir at a medium speed, pushing down occasionally to move the pieces down to the blades, until the watermelon is a liquid, about 30 seconds. (This is a yummy drink on its own or with an added squeeze of lime.)
Pour the liquefied watermelon over the onions. Drizzle the balsamic reduction according to your taste, I use about 1/2 tsp per bowl of this size. Sprinkle sliced cilantro on top and lay a thin slice of toasty bread on the top if you choose and serve. Depending on the size of your bowls this recipe makes 4-6 servings.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
Mix liquids with salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour over the onions in a jar. Sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Keeps in the refrigerator 2 weeks. Also, is a nice accompaniment to meat.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
Bring the balsamic and honey (in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan) to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and keep simmering until reduced to 1/3 cup and it becomes a honey-like consistency. (This takes about a half an hour and gives your house a strong vinegar odor but is worth it.)
Just the thing for adding refreshment to a summer evening of dining al fresco, watch out for the jaguars.
Happy Birthday again Mom!