Truffled watermelon salad — perfect for a sunny August day.
It’s August in Seattle, and by most accounts summer has tentatively sprung. I spent last Sunday on the boat, partaking in the Seafair festivities.
I saw a lot of bodies. Some belonged to girls clad only in pasties, drinking Coors Light out of the tube-like apparatus known as a beer bong. Another belonged to a bald, flabby gentleman who preferred to swim — and generally lounge around — in the nude. Since it was the first extended period of sunshine this year, most of them developed a salmon-colored tint over the course of the day.
In order to get a better picture in my own head, I clenched my eyes tightly shut and began to visualize sexy food. It’s my happy place, in much the same way that little girls dream of Disneyland when they’re getting swirlies from their evil older brothers.
The first sexy food that came to mind was a watermelon salad I made a few weeks ago. I thought of it because it’s light and healthy enough to contribute to a firm and taut body — rather than a gelatinous one. It is the ultimate mid-August aphrodisiac. If you’re looking to lure a gal into an afternoon quickie in the supply closet at work, ply her with a serving of this salad first.
There are several reasons why this watermelon salad is so sexy. First, it has prosciutto. Cured meat and watermelon go together like Brad and Angelina; the combo is so perfect you’ll go into high-gear ravish mode.
Second, it is truffled. Every time you want to sex something up, put truffle oil on it. I’ve been known to dab a few drops of truffle oil behind my ears. By the end of the day, I’ve collected a dozen manservants wearing banana leaves who feed me grapes and kiss my toes.
Third, there is salt. Black salt to be exact. If you’ve never tried salt and watermelon together, we can’t be friends. Until you try it. Like right now. It’s as though some tantric gods descended upon your tongue and made sweet Kama Sutra right in your mouth.
Now that I’ve gotten myself worked into a dither with all this talk about sexy food, you’ll have to excuse me while I go toss together a watermelon salad. Here’s the recipe — enjoy! And I mean that in every sense of the word.
Truffled Watermelon-Prosciutto Salad
Prep time: 30 minutes | Serves: 10
• Squares, circles, cubes or wedges from half a watermelon — I personally use ¼ red and ¼ golden
• ½ pound thinly-sliced prosciutto (or Jamon Iberico or Serrano), torn into thirds or cut into artful shapes
• ½ teaspoon white truffle oil (try to find a brand that uses real white truffle instead of artificial truffle flavor)
• Sea salt — I prefer black Hawaiian for the color contrast and crystal structure
• Acceptable garnishes: small shiso leaves, mint leaves — or nothing, as it really doesn’t need it
1. On a very hot, oiled grill, sear ¼ of the watermelon pieces. You don’t want to sear too many of these pieces, since they are meant more as a complement to the majority raw pieces.
2. Arrange a mix of seared and raw watermelon pieces on a serving tray. Top each one with 1/3 slice of prosciutto. Drizzle a drop of oil on each one and dust the dish with salt to taste. I use the black salt here because the high contrast lets you know exactly how much you’re using and you don’t get an overzealous hand. I used a few shiso leaves to garnish, or perhaps mint, but it is not strictly necessary.