watermelonRecipe From the Coffee Window: Spicy Watermelon Salad

The La Colombe 4th of July Series: During this week, we’ll be posting three interlocking recipes, designed for backyard grilling and outdoor eating.

Recipe Three: Spicy Watermelon Salad
Serves: 6 or so
Coffee: Pure Black

Summer’s greatest gastronomic emblem is probably the watermelon, considered by most of us to be a fruit but is actually classified by seed brokers as a vegetable: (member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, muskmelons, and gourds. Although watermelon is recognized as having African roots, many of the county’s most popular watermelon varieties were the result of breeding experiments by a horticulturist with the seasonally appropriate name of Col. A.G. Summer. It’s like if one of our last names was bean.

1 medium red onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 red jalapeño, slice into thin rounds, discarding stem, and removing seeds or leaving them in for some extra heat
¬      We used red jalapeños because they hide in the salad better, and are a good little surprising spike of heat. However, green ones work as well.
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3 pounds cubed watermelon, well-chilled
1 cup picked cilantro leaves

Place onions and jalapeño in a medium-sized stainless steel (or other non-reactive material) bowl, and add lime juice, salt and ground black pepper, mixing to coat. Cover loosely with plastic film, and set aside for an hour to marinate, which will wilt the vegetables and pull out some of the flavor.

When ready to serve the salad, place cold watermelon cubes in large mixing bowl (draining any accumulated liquid). Add the marinated vegetable mix, and toss gently. The best way: Spread your fingers wide, and reach down to the bottom of the bowl, folding the watermelon up and over a few times. Scatter the cilantro over the top, and have at it.

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