The air is thick and as hot as the ladle-full of soup coming out of the pot. August’s physical presence is obvious to all. Even though nature in one breath lets us know what it must like to be a loaf of bread proofing in an oven she then offers the other – and hands us a slice of juicy, sweet watermelon. Her kindest is greatly appreciated this time of year, and I can only imagine how relieved the lucky parched mouth was when it came across this well protected oasis on the African plains. It is very little wonder that this summer fruit has such joyful memories for. It is always picture in my summer tableau: chilled slices being served poolside as an afternoon snack; crushed and froze to make my favorite childhood ice, and more recently, replacing the tomato in a gazpacho.
The idea of rapping on the watermelon to taste for ripeness was a technique I employed until three summers ago. That year I helped out on a farm harvesting tomatoes, chili peppers, husk tomatoes, zucchinis and yes, watermelon. I was informed the knock would only let you know no one lived within the fruit. The measure for maturity was the spot on it bottom where it sat only season on the earth. It should be well-developed and pale yellow or white in color. Then its heft should be measurable for its size indicating a thirst-quenching interior. It s a fruit that can be refrigerated for it does not continue to ripen after its harvest, and lets be serious – there is nothing better than a frosty slice of watermelon.
Watermelon Salad - serves 8
3 cups diced watermelons - seeds carefiully removed
1/4 pound feta cheese - diced
1 small red onion - minced
1 jalapeno pepper - minced
3 scallions - roots discarded, and minced
2 tablespoon mint leaves - chopped
1 tablespoon oregano leaves - chopped
1 lime - juiced
1/4 cup extra virigin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Gently toss allingredients together, and refrigerate to chill well. Serve.