Watermelon—The Undeniable Symbol of Summer
Bursting with juice and sweetness, few things are more refreshing on a hot summer day. In our mind, no summer cookout is complete without a watermelon or three. Perhaps the best way to eat watermelon is to simply cut it into big slices and eat the flesh straight off the rind, but the fruit also makes a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen. Here are some of our favorite recipes. D.J. Costantino
Breakfast, brunch, or snack, we could serve (and eat) this quick-cured, no-cook fish dish from John Karangis of
Union Square Events, any time of day. It works exceptionally well as a summer starter, served with a savory lime yogurt and refreshing cubes of ripe watermelon, then sprinkled with flecks of shichimi togarashi: a spicy, tangy, earthy Japanese spice mix. Get the recipe Cured Fluke with Yogurt, Watermelon, Sunflower Seeds, and Togarashi »
For this summer refresher, Eric Johnson of Sycamore Den in San Diego makes a syrup with ripe watermelon and sugar, then combines it with sherry, gin, and muddled lemon.
Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »
This Indian pickle is best made with green tomatoes that are very firm with no signs of ripening. Get the recipe for
Green Tomato and Watermelon Rind Achaar
For a Southeast Asian spin, add fish sauce, chile, and Thai basil to the classic combination of watermelon and feta.
Get the recipe for Watermelon, Feta, and Jalapeño Salad »
Juicy sweet watermelons go savory in this summery no-cooking-required soup from Anna Watson Carl. Spicy bite comes from jalapeños and red onions, while tomatoes and tart lime juice provide acidity.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Gazpacho »
Exceedingly well-balanced, this juicy cocktail from John Karangis of
Union Square Events gets its sweetness from yellow watermelon, herbal freshness from Chartreuse and basil, and an astringent kick from tequila. While red watermelon will work in a pinch, you won’t get the clarity of color unless you spring for the yellow. Get the recipe for Watermelon-Basil Cocktail »
From the school of waste-not-want-not eating comes pickled watermelon rind: a spicy, tangy, tender treat from a something more often discarded.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Rind Pickle »
Homemade lime salt brings out the sweetness of fresh watermelon in this lively salad and plays well with the crisp radishes and tangy onions.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Salad with Habanero-Pickled Onions and Lime Salt »
Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, serves a version of this refreshing dish during the late summer. Smith says he developed the salad after paying a visit to a few of his former cooks in Mexico, where he discovered a range of dishes that melded sweet, spicy, and sour flavors.
Get the recipe for Watermelon and Tomato Salad »
In this refreshing salad, watermelon at the peak of its sweetness is tossed in a zesty vinaigrette with spicy radish sprouts.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Salad with Cilantro, Radish Sprouts, and Cotija »
In this summer salad, watermelon is a sweet counterpoint to the briny pungency of feta and olives.
Get the recipe for Watermelon, Feta, and Olive Salad »
Get the recipe for Watermelon Rind Pickles »
This refreshing summer soup, adapted from La Guarida restaurant in Havana, is meant to be served lightly chilled. Olive oil, garlic, pink peppercorn, and smoky grilled shrimp round out the sweetness from the strawberries and watermelon. Add ¼ teaspoon of sugar if the fruit is more tart than sweet.
Get the recipe for Strawberry, Watermelon, and Tomato Gazpacho »
A bright mix of watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda, this drink from Stella Rosa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica is well-balanced, effervescent, and not too sweet.
Get the recipe for The Merchant’s Wife »
This substantial summer salad is a tribute to the “everything tastes better grilled” philosophy of cooking, one with which I am currently obsessed. Here, watermelons get even sweeter from the flames, shrimp gets crisp and plump, and avocado turns deliciously smoky.
Get the recipe for Grilled Watermelon, Avocado, and Shrimp Salad »
A specialty of the Indian state of Rajasthan, this delicious curry plays the sweet, juicy flesh of the watermelon against a complex background of chiles and spices.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Curry »
Sweet watermelon balances the heat of Scotch bonnet chiles in this summery tequila-based drink.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Cooler »
Fresh watermelon, basil, and cayenne combine with pisco—a fruity, spicy eau de vie distilled from grapes—for a sweet-spicy summertime cocktail from bartender Cliff Mejia of New York’s
Analogue. Get the recipe for Red Lady