It’s the middle of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but I don’t know who’s winning. I don’t even know who’s playing (if I had to venture a guess, I’d say… oh, I don’t know, the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Tulsa Shock?). This is because, in addition to my complete lack of interest in professional basketball, I’ve also been hard at work crafting the next edition of everyone’s favorite blog game, What’s In The RediSetGo?
Before we get started: Parts 1-14 are archived in the My Favorite Posts section of this blog – so head there if you want to catch up on prior installments!
Are you ready? Pull up your tube socks and lace up your Chuck Taylors, because it’s time to play!
WHAT’S IN THE REDISETGO?
GRILLED WATERMELON STEAK is in the RediSetGo!
Wait, what? Did you say grilled watermelon steak?
Yes, I did. It had never occurred to me to cook watermelon before. I’ve baked apples before, and eaten cooked fruit is all sorts of pies and desserts in my life, but I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten cooked watermelon before. The idea came about because of two other recent blog posts:
1) I had an extra watermelon on hand after making my Watermelon and Cucumber Salad for the Memorial Day dinner I went to a couple weekends ago.
2) The other day, I consulted my Mark Bittman cookbook “How to Cook Everything” to learn a little more about cherimoya for my cherimoya post. I ended up flipping through most of the fruit section of the book, and there, in the melon section, was Mark’s recipe for grilled watermelon steak. Of course, he grilled it on an actual grill, but the light bulb turned on in my head the second I read the recipe: I can try this on the RediSetGo!
I know this might be a shocker, but watermelon has a lot of water in it. And my first thought, after deciding that I was gonna try this, was that the cooking would leach the water out of the fruit, and since it has nowhere to go in the RediSetGo, it would just puddle and steam the watermelon. So, after butchering the watermelon and carving out a couple big steaks, I folded up some paper towel and let the steaks drain on it for about 10 minutes. A lot of water came out, too!
Mark’s recipe calls for fresh rosemary and olive oil, and I don’t have the former on hand, and didn’t want to use the latter. So I modified the recipe. I had beautiful fresh mint leaves, so I took about 8 of them and sliced them into pretty little strips, and I took a few dried rosemary needles just because I wanted to use at least one of the flavors that Mark Bittman suggests. I sprayed some non-stick spray in the RediSetGo, plopped down a watermelon steak (it made a very nice steak-like sizzle), sprinkled the mint and rosemary on top, as well as a little black pepper, and let it go for 5 minutes on each side. The edges got nicely caramelized, and while there was a slight puddle effect under the watermelon, it wasn’t that bad at all.
The finished product (with a mint leaf garnish:
The crazy thing about the finished product is how the texture of the watermelon changed. It was denser, more tender, and less crisp, and it totally reminded me of meat when I cut into it with my fork. If I didn’t know what this was, based on looks and how it reacted to my fork, I might have guessed it was ahi tuna!
It tasted really great, too. I enjoyed the rosemary and pepper with the sweetness of the watermelon, and the whole thing was an unexpected, unique surprise.
Bittman offers an alternative preparation for grilled watermelon steak in the same recipe, suggesting that grilling it with chili powder would take it south-of-the-border and be perfect for any Mexican-themed meals or picnics. I have chili powder, so I gave that variation a whirl, too. I took my other drained watermelon steak, sprinkled it liberally with chili powder, added some mint leaves (because, hey, I have it lying around), and threw it (not literally) on the RediSetGo:
It looks a lot like the other watermelon steak, but believe me, there’s chili powder on it. This steak was a little thinner than the other one, and it caramelized around the edges a little more:
I was unsure if I’d like the fruit and chili powder combo, but it was really good! Sweet and a little bit of heat – not bad at all! I’ve seen chili-spiced dried mango slices at the Mexican supermarkets around town for years now, and always thought they must be disgusting… but based on my chili-spiced watermelon steak, I think I may have to give them a try!
Have you ever grilled watermelon before? What other flavors have you added?
Keep it up, David!