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Howie Hart

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Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Howie Hart » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:10 am

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Yesterday I had a "work" party at my house. Three of my sons and several of their friends were "invited" over to help me move my 8 x 10 tool shed to another location in my yard. To thank them for their work, I cooked up 20 lbs. of ribs, using Chef Carey's wonderful dry bub and BBQ sauce. fresh, local corn on the cob, green salad and Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad. She posted this recipe a few years ago buried within an unrelated thread and served it when I had dinner at her place in May.
Watermelon Salad

Got this out of a magazine some years ago and was stunned by the flavors. I hardly ever make barbecue without it in the summer months when the fruits are at their peak.

1/4 C fresh lime juice
2 Tbsps brown sugar
3 C chopped, seeded watermelon
1 C chopped, seeded honeydew melon
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1/2 C thinly sliced red onion
1/4 C chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsps slivered crystallized ginger
1-2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped

Dissolve sugar in lime juice in a large bowl. Add watermelon and all remaining ingredients; toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared up to 2 hrs ahead of serving. Of course, the longer it sits the more water it releases -- so, I consider it a mix and serve salad, but with 1 hour of lead time to marry the flavors.
Note: I don't follow the recommended measures for this recipe. I add what feels right and what I have a taste for, and enough to feed the size of the crowd. This one is easy to do in that way and suffers nothing by sliding up and down the ingredients scale.

Enjoy!
When I was visiting her, she informed me that the original recipe was for a salsa, but she thought that having bigger chunks and serving it as a salad would be a great accompaniment to BBQ. And how right she was! I cut the melons into about 1-1/2 inch chunks and the cucumber (I used those long "gourmet" ones as the regular ones make me burp) I peeled slightly (leaving some green), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices. I also used powdered ginger instead of the slivered crystallized and added a bit more sugar. The only variation I made was to use the zest of the limes in the dressing. The jalapenos were minced finely and mixed into the lime juice and brown sugar, and added just a bit of heat. The salad was a great hit and will now become a regular at my picnics. Thank you for this Jo Ann.
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Jenise

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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Jenise » Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:26 pm

Good report and VERY pretty salad!
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Howie Hart

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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Howie Hart » Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:20 pm

Thanks Jenise. In addition, as Jo Ann pointed out, a lot of the juices are released after mixing. When the picnic was over, I strained out these juices and they make an excellent tasting beverage, which all the flavors blending together. :wink:
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Paul Winalski » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:33 pm

Wow, does that look great! I'll have to try it while there's still some summer left. Thanks!

-Paul W.
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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Jenise » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:30 pm

I'm not sure if Paula Deen originated the idea or not, but I've seen her credited many times with a recipe for watermelon salad and I've seen watermelon salads all over the place since. In fact, I thought after being so impressed with it, that I posted it here but I couldn't find the recipe, maybe that was while we were on AOL. Anyway, because watermelon will exude it's own juice and turn rubbery in the presence of salt, her version has you marinate sliced red onions in EVOO, salt and red wine vinegar, then toss that with a lot of mint and watermelon just before serving. She tops hers with feta cheese which I find unneccessary and unattractive because it leaks a milky haze onto the melon--much better for color contrast, if more is needed, would be Jo Ann's second melon and or the cucumber. Anyway, it is just delicious and a perfect savory fruit for a brunch.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jo Ann Henderson

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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Jo Ann Henderson » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:06 pm

Jenise wrote:I'm not sure if Paula Deen originated the idea or not, but I've seen her credited many times with a recipe for watermelon salad and I've seen watermelon salads all over the place since. In fact, I thought after being so impressed with it, that I posted it here but I couldn't find the recipe, maybe that was while we were on AOL. Anyway, because watermelon will exude it's own juice and turn rubbery in the presence of salt, her version has you marinate sliced red onions in EVOO, salt and red wine vinegar, then toss that with a lot of mint and watermelon just before serving. She tops hers with feta cheese which I find unneccessary and unattractive because it leaks a milky haze onto the melon--much better for color contrast, if more is needed, would be Jo Ann's second melon and or the cucumber. Anyway, it is just delicious and a perfect savory fruit for a brunch.

Actually, this is not the Paula Deen version. This recipe appeared in Bon Appetit 2000 as a watermelon salsa. Somehow I thought it was a bit much for a salsa, so I made it as a salad to serve with barbeque. I've also swapped the honeydew for canteloup or nectarines. I've seen Paula's version and wouldn't try it for all the reasons you expressed. Personally, I find Paula a bit too over the top for my taste. I always think she should stop about 3 ingredients shy for just about anything she prepares. Especially, she could pull back on all the ooey-gooey stuff that runs down her chin(s) IMO.
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Dave R » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:13 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote: chin(s)


LOL! Sassy but funny.
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Re: Recipe Report - Jo Ann's Watermelon Salad

by Jenise » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:22 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:Actually, this is not the Paula Deen version.


Oh, I know it's not! I was just expressing in my usual clumsy way the origins as I understand them of the watermelon salads that suddenly show up at almost every potluck I go (including last Saturday night's, with blueberries.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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