Cool and refreshing to go with my b-b-q ribs!
I was laying in bed this morning thinking about the baby back ribs my husband was going to smoke tonight. I knew they would be delicious because he does the best bar-b-q around. I think my dad taught him well and over the years my husband has put his own spin on smoking/grilling by using all sorts of different woods to get a great smoke flavor to his meats.
So, on with the story. I was trying to come up with a salad that would be cool and refreshing to go along with his hot and spicy ribs. I was thinking about a watermelon that our neighbor, Anne, just gave us and what might go with that to make a delicious salad. Watermelon, orange, maybe some red onions, avocado and some toasted pine nuts. I thought about putting this on a bed of baby spinach for extra color. And, for the dressing, you can’t go wrong with balsamic, maybe a little lime juice and cilantro, shallot, some olive oil and perhaps toss in a little cumin to add a touch of spice to the salad to compliment the ribs.
I remember years ago when we would go to Florida for summer vacations, my grandfather would pull over at local farm stands to buy some produce. Whether it be watermelon, oranges, or peaches, he always wanted to taste the fruit before buying it. Of course, we only bought the ripest and most flavorful fruits. Wonder, why we aren’t allowed to taste our produce in the grocery stores? Guess they only sample the things they know are tasty OR we wouldn’t be buying all the hard, tasteless fruits and vegetables we get at certain times of the year.
We all need to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables to get the best flavor for our recipes. Hope you will find this salad as delightful as we did. And, by the way, the ribs were the best.
You can use a channel knife to take off strips of zest or you can use a microplane zester for finer zest. Also, if you zest an orange, lemon, or lime with the channel knife and then make thin slices of the fruit, you will have a very attractive garnish for drinks or as a plate garnish.
The juiciest, sweetest watermelon ever.
Orange and Watermelon Salad
3 c. watermelon cubes or slices
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
1 avocado, cubed
1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted in 1 tsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, finely minced
juice of 1 lime
1/8 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. sugar
For dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic, lime juice, sugar, shallot, orange zest, and cumin until it is mixed thoroughly. Set aside for drizzling over the salad.
Zest orange and reserve one teaspoon for the dressing. Cut the top and bottom off of the orange and then remove all peel by cutting as close to the orange (from top to bottom) as you can making sure you get all the pith off the orange (white part). Now section the orange by using a sharp knife and going between the membranes of the orange on both sides to loosen the orange segment. Set these aside.
Cut the watermelon either into cubes or slices, reserve. Peel and pit the avocado. Run the peeled avocado under tap water and set aside (believe it or not it will stay overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered, and still not turn dark. Toast the pine nuts for a few minutes.
To put together the salad, use either a bowl or large tray. Put a little spinach (or lettuce of your choice) on the platter/bowl to use to lay your fruit on. Start adding your watermelon, oranges, red onion and avocado. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped cilantro and drizzle the dressing over the salad.