|Watermelon: Take it a grain (or twelve) of salt|
Counterintuitive as it may seem, salt can bring out flavors that are already present in foods. In small doses, anyway. Put enough of it in and you'll get nothing but salt.
What finally got to me to try a dash of the stuff on melon was the way I make whipped cream. Years and years ago, I picked up an Austrian trick of adding a tiny amount — a knifepoint — of fine salt to heavy cream when whipping. It enhances the sweetness of the sugar in the whipped cream and somehow makes the whole thing more creamy. If you taste the salt, though, it's too much. It's there as a foil.
And so, thinking something similar may work on melons after all, I one day strew a bit of rough French sea salt over a slice I'd just cut. Ah, what a fool I'd been. Watermelon alone — a good one, anyway — hardly seems to need any adornment. Gilding the lily and all that. But needing and wanting are different beasts and there's hardly a slice of juicy, sweet watermelon that doesn't want a bit of salt.
You'll want to use more than the knifepoint I put in whipped cream. Give it a good scattering. Don't bother with the
Goes well with:
- Mark Bitterman's 2010 book Salted. I have several books on salt — historical overviews, scholarly stuff, quite dry. Salted, though, is more of a field guide to salts of the world and if I could have only one tome of the stuff, this would be it. I give it a review here.
- Plugged For Your Pleasure: The Melon-Aged Cocktail — It's hot this summer. Before chilling it, why not spike your watermelon with something a little classier than grain alcohol, something like arrack punch?
- When you're done with the melon itself, be sure to save the rind for making pickled watermelon rind with ginger and try the recipe for the watermelon agua fresca on the same page (oh, hey, is that salt I see in the recipe?).