Tropical Watermelon Fruit Salad


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INGREDIENTS

For the Pickled Watermelon Rind:

  • ½ seedless baby watermelon (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2⅓ cups water, divided
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Aleppo-Sumac Salt:

  • 3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons sumac
  • For the Fruit Salad:
  • 4 cups watermelon pieces (from the baby watermelon above)
  • 2 cups bite-size mango pieces (2 mangos)
  • 1 cup pickled watermelon rind
  • 1 cup sliced kiwi rounds (2 kiwis, peeled)
  • 3 teaspoons Aleppo-sumac salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1½ cups bite-size avocado pieces (2 avocados)
  • ½ cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ⅓ cup toasted and roughly chopped macadamia nuts

METHOD:

1. Make the pickled watermelon rind: Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the watermelon skin. Slice off the green flesh, leaving ¼ inch of the red flesh attached. Reserve the rest of the red watermelon for the salad.

2. Cut enough of the green watermelon into ¼-inch pieces until you have about 2 cups, and combine with the salt and 2 cups of the water. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ⅓ cup of the water, both vinegars, the cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat.

4. Rinse the watermelon rind well and add it to the pickle brine saucepan. Bring to a boil, cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a quart jar. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hour before using.

5. Make the salt: In a small bowl, combine the flaky sea salt, Aleppo pepper and sumac.

6. Assemble the salad: In a large serving bowl, combine the watermelon, mango, watermelon rind and kiwi. Season with the Aleppo-sumac salt, agave and lime juice, tossing gently to mix. Fold in the avocado pieces. Garnish with the coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and a pinch more of the Aleppo-sumac salt. Serve in a watermelon shark’s head (optional).

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