There are certain tastes that just say summer, and to me watermelon and cucumber head the list. Enjoy the fruits of your garden labor with light, delicious favorite.
- 4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
- 2 cups seedless cucumber, cubed
- 3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
- 2 limes, juiced and zested
- 1 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground sea salt, just a pinch
- Fresh ground black pepper, just a pinch
A word about zest. If you’ve never “zested” a fruit (removed the dark colored outer layer of the fruit) you’re in for a treat. You may be familiar with the taste of lime and lime juice, but the flavor and aroma of lime zest is unlike the rest of the fruit. You’ll want to zest and juice with the fruit at room temperature so it releases the most juice and oils.
First, pick your tool.. microplane (pictured above), a fine grater or a zesting tool. A zesting tool is more designed to make long decorative pieces for garnish and will take a bit of work to get all the zest off. Be cautious when using a grater. If you look closely, the blades on a grater look like little scoops and that’s exactly what they are. It’s a great tool for grating potatoes or cheese, but when it comes to zesting, you only want the very outer layer of skin where the essential oils are. The thick white layer underneath is known as the pith, and it can be very bitter and will drastically change the flavor of your dish. For that reason I prefer a microplane. A microplane is very similar to a grater, but rather than rounded scooped edges they are flat so they only shave off the outer part. If you do use a grater, just be mindful not to apply too much pressure to the fruit so as not to grate the pith as well. Zest your lime into a small bowl, be sure clean the excess zest off your grater or microplane and add this to the bowl.
Before you go any further, stop. I want you to take a moment to smell your hands (I know, it sounds weird) but do it anyway. Then pick up a little zest and breathe in deep. What you’re smelling is the essential oils in the lime. It is one of the most amazing scents. Fresh, clean, revitalizing and yet it has this earthy quality. It’s good for fevers, infection, insect bites, arthritis, bronchitis and so much more… okay, back on task.
To get the most juice from your fruit, press your palm down on the fruit to get some resistance but not crush the fruit and roll it around a bit on the countertop. This will help to break the membranes that section the fruit on the inside, along with warming the fruit up. Then cut your lime from end to end, first in half, then into quarters and squeeze the fruit in the bowl with your zest.
Mince the mint leaves. The easiest way to do this is to bunch, then roll them a little to hold them together before cutting. Again, I want you to take the time to stop and smell. I love the smell of fresh mint. My Aunt used to grow it on her farm and I can’t think of mint without thinking of that… then comes lamb. LOL Anyway, mint is great for the respiratory system, colds, flu, fever, fatigue, headache.
You thought this dish was healthy just because of the fresh fruit and veggies, you didn’t realize that “medicine” could be so tasty did you? Because of the lime and mint, this is a great summer dish if you feel one of those summer colds coming on. Sneaky, huh?
Add the mint, salt, pepper and olive oil to the lime. Give it a quick stir (and a whiff for good measure) and set to the side to allow the flavors to blend.
Next, cut your watermelon and cucumber. Toss with the dressing and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
I guarantee this will be a new summer favorite!