Crudo is the Italian word for raw. Obviously, watermelon is best served raw; however, traditional crudo usually means raw meat or fish garnished with herbs, oils, spices, or fruits and vegetables. The watermelon looks a lot like salmon or tuna, but the fleshy colored chunks showcase summer at its finest. During the summer months, consuming copious amounts of watermelon is a rite of passage. The watermelon is topped with fruit jam, goat cheese, a pickled jalapeño round, and spices. The majority of the ingredients are at their best in the summer. The watermelon is a Charleston grey, the jalapeños are from a friend's garden, the goat cheese is from the farmers' market, the thyme from the front porch. The jam was made last summer with nectarines and vanilla beans. The jam creates a sticky base for the goat cheese to lay on.
This watermelon crudo is very easy to assemble. I like to prep the watermelon ahead of time. This means cutting up the watermelon into its desired shape and allowing the juices to drain off a bit. I set the pieces in a bowl and wait for an hour. This reduces the moisture when serving, and helps the watermelon stay in once piece. The watermelon can be cut into any shape. These can be assembled a few hours ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated until ready to use.
Watermelon crudo with goat cheese and pickled jalapeños
Yield: 8 pieces, serves 2-4
1 watermelon, about a 2 to 3 inch width block of watermelon
1 jar apricot or peach jam (can substitute honey)
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 small jalapeño, cut into thin rounds (can substitute pickled jalapeños)
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
- Cut the watermelon into a desirable shape. I slice the watermelon into even rounds, cut off the rind, remove the seeds, and cut them into squares or triangles. Watermelon should be at least 1/3" thick. Set in a bowl and allow the juices to drain off a bit. You can set them in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice the jalapeños into thin rounds. Remove the seeds and extra veins. If you want the jalapeños to kick you in the mouth leave the seeds in tact.
- In a small saucepan, heat up the vinegar and sugar over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Once simmering, add in the jalapeños and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jalapeños to cool. Once cool, remove the jalapeños and discard the vinegar.
- Once ready to assemble, place the watermelon in a fancy serving dish. I like doing this because there is no need to move the watermelon afterwards. The assembled crudo can be kept in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
- To assemble the crudo:
- Lay out the watermelon slices in the serving dish.
- Top each watermelon slice with 1/2 tsp of jam. The idea is to create a sticky base for the cheese.
- Place a small crumble or slice of goat cheese on top of the jam.
- Set one jalapeño round on top.
- Garnish with black pepper, thyme, cumin, and black sesame seeds.