Recipe: Watermelon, Arugula and Toasted Almond Salad

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I liked this one so much, I thought I’d share it on the blog. It comes from the Detroit Free Press.

After the jump:

Watermelon, Arugula and Toasted Almond SaladServes: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes
1 small seedless watermelon, about 6 pounds
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup white or dark balsamic or cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups loosely packed arugula leaves or favorite salad greens
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
12 radishes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

To prepare the watermelon, remove a slice from both ends of the watermelon. Stand the watermelon upright on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice the rind from the flesh working from the top to the bottom, in one long slice if possible. Repeat, cutting away all the rind. Cut the flesh into 2-inch-thick slices and set aside the rounded end cuts. Trim the slices into shapes that will fit on a serving platter. Reserve the center of the melon. Season each slice with salt and, using 1/4 cup of the olive oil, brush one side of each slice.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, working in batches, place the watermelon slices, oil side down, on the hot skillet and leave for about 45 seconds or until heated. Remove slices, heated side up to a chilled plate.

Place the reserved center and the rounded end pieces in a sieve set over a bowl and smash with your hands or a whisk, forcing the juice into the bowl. Measure 1 cup of the juices. Drink or freeze the rest into ice cubes.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar and watermelon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes, or until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

Pour the reduced juice into a serving bowl and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, almonds, green onion and radishes and toss well. Gently mound the arugula salad over the melon slices. Sprinkle the top with crumbled feta and serve.

Adapted from “Homegrown Pure and Simple” by Michel Nischan (Chronicle Books, $35).
Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
238 calories (64 percent from fat), 17 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 18 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 121 mg sodium, 8 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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