We eat a ton of salads in my house during the summer, and I'm always looking for new twists on our old favorites. I have a particular fondness for Caprese salad, an Italian standard of creamy mozzarella cheese layered with juicy tomatoes and fresh basil. I was craving those flavors one night and realized that I had used up my last tomato the day prior. Not wanting to make a special trip to the store, I got creative. Instead of tomatoes, I grabbed a half a watermelon and sliced it thick. After a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, on to the hot grill it went.
Something magical happens when watermelon is grilled. The flavor concentrates and takes on a smoky, almost tomatoey flavor and rich, meaty texture. It's delicious served as a steak, sprinkled with cheese and a douse of balsamic vinegar, or cubed up and tossed into a salad. I chose the latter and opted for peppery baby arugula and some shaved Parmesan cheese. Sliced scallions and fresh basil got tossed into the mix with a good drizzle of a simple balsamic vinaigrette. For a bit of crunch, I roasted thin slices of prosciutto in the oven until crisp and crumbled them over the top. The combination of sweet and salty, tangy and peppery had our taste buds dancing. You can tweak this salad to your liking with what you have on hand. Feta cheese, baby spinach, or lemon dressing would all be delicious substitutions and pair nicely with the grilled watermelon.
The simple twist of grilled watermelon made our usual weeknight salad dinner-party worthy. You can find the full recipe for my Grilled Watermelon Salad here. You won't believe what you've been missing!