Watermelon is a fruit that absolutely defines the summer. Every picnic, barbecue, or garden party seems to offer up the brightly colored juicy melon. And while it always feels so new and fresh, this member of the cucurbitaceae family has been with us a long time. It is reputed to have been cultivated more than 4,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, and there are even reports of its seeds being found in the tomb of King Tut. From Africa, it made its way to the Mediterranean, then on to India and China, leading to China’s now being the world’s greatest producer of watermelon. European slave traders brought them to the Americas in the 17th century.
Watermelon is filled with water, making it an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. It also contains the highest amount of lycopene of any fruit.
Here is a summertime recipe for Watermelon and Red Onion Salad Recipe. It comes from homecooking.about.com, originally printed in From the Earth to the Table by John Ash. And feel free to wipe up any spills with Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Paper Towels.
Watermelon and Red Onion Salad
Raspberry vinaigrette tops a light salad of watermelon, red onions, and watercress. It is quite easy and simple, yet wonderfully refreshing.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 Tablespoon shallots, chopped
- 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed and strained
- 2 teaspoons honey (or to taste)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches watercress, stems removed
- 8 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Whisk together the shallots, vinegar, raspberry puree, honey, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Separate the onions into rings. Pour the vinaigrette over the onions and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
To serve, arrange a bed of watercress on each plate. Top with the cubed watermelon and drape the red onion rings on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with the mint leaves, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings
Flickr photo: Hadleygrass is asparagus