With the warmest season quickly approaching, so with it comes the overwhelming urge to add fruit to any and every dish we create. As delicious as fruity garnishes or sauces can be on more protein-heavy dishes, those formulas are often a little more challenging to get right. Outside of the culinary world, it's sometimes easier to stick to the combinations that are just as easy for the everyday chef to get right, like fruit and salad. With the exception of maybe a Caesar salad (the potential for including fruit is most often decided by the dressing), with summer comes the time that nearly every salad is graced with something sweet. Whether you add a seasonal berry mix to offset the sharper taste of arugula or your orange slices to some nicely massaged kale, fruit is the perfect offset and often makes the meal seem much more sophisticated without expending much more effort. We wanted to start the week off by taking a stab at putting watermelon, a classic summertime favorite, on the grill before mixing it with a few other salad staples.
A few simple steps:To start, place the watermelon face down on a cutting board (rind facing up), and slowly slice away at the rind with a serrated knife. Once you have removed all of the rind, slice 1" thick sections from the top down. There are a few different ways to grill the watermelon. One is by using a grill pan (which I believe may be better for getting those grill marks on the fruit) or a traditional grill; I went with the grill. When it comes to grilling the melon, it's best just to use your judgement to know when they're done. I would recommend a minimum of 3 minutes on each side, but if you want the fruit to be cooked through a little further, feel free to leave it on a bit longer. After grilling, slice into smaller squares so that it can be mixed easily into the salad.
Next, mix the balsamic vinaigrette with the agave and simmer for 20 minutes; the consistency should be thick enough to stick on the back of a wooden spoon. This same glaze was used in one of our recipes last week, the Balsamic Avocado Crostini with Microgreens! It's a pretty versatile and delicious topping, and it only has two ingredients!
The rest of the salad is about as simple as you would imagine. Toss some arugula or mixed greens with the grilled watermelon pieces, and sprinkle some Chevre cheese and balsamic glaze on top. You've got yourself an inventive salad perfect to cool things off on a hot summer day!