char-grilled watermelon salad with mint and goats cheese

plate4It’s been a slow couple of months at the Mess. Slow and weary; mostly due to the insufferably hot Summer weather. Over the past two months I’ve been reluctant to even move, never mind turn on the oven. Aaron and I have spent a majority of nights sleeping on the cool kitchen floor underneath our single air conditioning unit (don’t get too excited, it hardly copes with humidity. Cool, wet towels have become my new best friend).

Meals? Well, they’ve largely consisted of raw vegetables, hummus, sourdough and cultured butter, chunks of good cheddar and the occasional barbecue chicken from Red Rooster. Oh, and homemade quinoa tofu sushi. That’s about as interesting as it gets. melonNot that I’m complaining. In fact, I’ve quite enjoyed these nights of light, simple food. My sole problem has been poor blogability, if that’s even a word. Nothing’s really stood out as beautiful enough to throw into the blogosphere.

Add that to the absence of my beloved laptop (which has officially bitten the dust) and the lack of Western Australian daylight savings and… well, you’re left with a dearth of recent blog content. I’m dreadfully sorry. vase But back to today’s post and the beauty of char-grilled watermelon. This, my friends, is the kind of food that makes my weary, sweat-soaked Summer heart sing.

Quickly tossing watermelon onto a hot grill plate creates a beautiful smoky exterior that contrasts perfectly against the sweet, juicy flesh. Add some fresh mint, creamy chevre, crunchy pistachios and piquant lemon and you’ve got a salad fit for warm weather entertaining. plate1 Or for eating by yourself, with sweet grilled chicken and a glass of chilled white wine.

Happy February, friends. plate3 Char-grilled Watermelon Salad

Serves 2

  • 4 one-inch-thick slices of seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • 2 spring onions, washed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 sprig mint, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 hunks of good-quality goats cheese, preferably French chèvre (approx 20g per person)
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp toasted, shelled pistachio nuts, crushed
  • light olive oil or coconut oil, to cook

Lemon Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice from half an average lemon)
  • a good pinch of brown or coconut sugar (to taste)
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue plate to high heat (or until it starts smoking).

Rub each side of the cut watermelon with olive or coconut oil, then immediately transfer onto the hot pan or rack. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Transfer two slices onto each plate.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a small screw top jar. Shake, then taste. Adjust amounts of acid or sweetness to your liking (ensure the dressing is a little acidic as you’ll require the acid as a contrast to the sweet watermelon.

dressingingred dressing Top the watermelon slices on each plate with some crumbled goats cheese, mint, spring onions and finely grated lemon rind. Drizzle with a bit of the lemon dressing and sprinkle with crunchy pistachio nuts.

Serve alongside some grilled white fish or chicken for a complete meal. Or as a Vegetarian option, add some sourdough and cultured butter for a pretty delicious lunch. plate2

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59 responses

  1. Beautiful! Can’t wait for summer here to try it. Unfortunately, we are quite the opposite – especially today – where so far it is -7 degrees F!!!

  2. Oh yeah! That’s what summer is all about, right there on that plate. It looks and sounds incredible Laura! You can totally make it for Alyssa and I in in exchange for aircon and cold beers. It’s only a shortish drive and you guys are welcome anytime ;)

  3. Thank you for this “warm-cool” weather recipe! From my very cold and snowy land (Montreal), it makes me dream of better days to come!

    • Oh I have always wanted to visit Montreal Guylaine!!! One day it’ll happen. Stay warm, hope that you have a bit of warmer weather now that winter has gone! x

  4. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but we are in a particularly miserable cold snap (-20C today!) so I just sat here for a dew minutes this morning and stared at that lovely, ruby watermelon piece. It really calmed me down haha with resolve to go brave the elements outside!

    This is my favorite kind of summer food as well, Laura – love the addition of pistachios! So good. Thank you for sharing that little bit of sunshine : ) xx

    • Haha… your broken record was in response to mine Ksenia!!! At least it’s now officially autumn over here. Maybe we will get some cool temps soon! Take care and I do hope that you are managing to stay warm! xxxx

  5. Laura, this looks so refreshing! What a wonderful combination of ingredients. So beautifully presented too. Can’t imagine it being so hot you’ve been sleeping on the cool kitchen floor. :) Brilliant idea.

  6. Sorry about the heat – and especially the humidity. I am grateful that here, in the Southwest, we all have central air. But the good news is that watermelons were in the farmers market yesterday. Looks like it would be fun to make this when the weather starts warming up a bit more.

    • Thanks David, humidity is definitely some kind of torture. We had thunderstorms here over the weekend and then when the storms cleared the humidity was even worse! I’m welcoming autumn with open arms now!
      I am glad that you’re starting to get spring and summer produce in the stores. My favourite kind of food… asparagus, strawberries, peas and stone fruit. Yum :)

  7. I’m trying so hard to feel sorry for you my dear, but I just would trade everything I have for a bit of heat! I think we need to swap countries! I’d prefer to be sweat soaked than rain soaked, rather have to sleep starkers than in five dressing gowns and padded with hot water bottles, prefer to be eating gorgeous salads like this that another bloody bowl of soup! Hope it eases up for you a bit soon and you can get a good nights sleep and something home-baked in the oven. Such stunning photos and a lush recipe. Will ear mark this one for my summer! Xx

    • I do think we need to swap countries too… I love the cold! I get excited by opportunities to wear jackets and make soup and toasted sandwiches!! I’ve been checking out Scott’s clothing line over the past few weeks and I’d love to buy Aaron something, but he’s definitely a climate dresser and will never wear any sort of blazer in our Aussie temperatures. I Hm, maybe you two can do a house swap with Aaron and I some time? You can come and stay in our Aussie apartment whilst I make soup and cosy down in a dressing gown in yours! ;) I do hope it warms up for you soon though, it’s horrible to feel immeasurably cold and live in bleak conditions all the time. Spring is just around the corner now! xxx

  8. Oh Laura that sounds awful! You poor love, it has been way too hot to be without air con. I remember when we first bought our house we couldn’t afford air con to be installed (there was none) and similarly slept with wet towel and a lot of pedestal fans dotted about the place. Sleep was only short-lived and interrupted and it made summer so exhausting. I hope this heat doesnt linger for too much longer and you can get some cool, well deserved sleep! xxx

    • Aw, you’re beautiful Martine – thanks! I’ve missed so many comments whilst saving to buy my new laptop (I kicked Aaron off his PC last night so I could catch up on some blogging business, poor man!). Thankfully the weather has changed a bit now, we’ve retreated back into the bedroom a couple of times. Unfortunately Loki has now got used to sleeping on the floor with us, so his own little bed no longer suffices! Never mind. He is such a cute little thing, how could I say no? Hugs xx

  9. I just want to you to know that it barely broke double digit temperatures today. And the wind chill was like 20 below. And you’re enjoying watermelon. Life’s just not fair. But this does look delicious! :)

    • Aw, no! Life is definitely not fair, I agree – I hope it’s gradually warming up for you over there! Sorry I took so long to reply to this, too. Absence of my own computer is definitely not helping my blogging. Hope you’re doing well Melissa! x

  10. Funny – we are in insufferable winter weather – nothing above freezing in the forecast for the next 10 days. Sigh. Not a fan of summer heat, right now, I’d trade in an instant!

    This salad looks great. I love the combo of watermelon with fresh cheeses, but I’ve never grilled it. I always thought there was too much water. But clearly not – unless you marked those up with a Sharpie :-) Will try this when we get to see the ground again in the spring….

    • Oh you poor thing! I do hope the weather has improved a bit now? And yes, there’s a considerable water content in watermelon but if you cook them briefly they don’t leach too much fluid. So tasty, definitely worth the effort! Happy spring, my lovely friend xx

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  12. Our a/c has been on since October. I don’t think Chris has let me turn it off once! Gingers + heat = evil gremlins.
    This salad is exactly what summer should be about. Simple, gorgeous food prepared with love and served to good company. Also, your beach pictures lately have been making me super jealous!

    • Haha, I definitely know what you mean – their bodies aren’t made for the hot weather! Glad that you have a/c or you might have a very sad (or possibly dearly departed!) loved one by now! Thanks so much for the lovely words Amy xxx

  13. Oh Laura, I’m uber impressed that you managed to blog about anything at all in all that heat. It’s not something I cope well with and would probably be spending my whole day in front of an open freezer, definitely NOT thinking about blogs and computers and recipes … Right now it’s hard to imagine hot weather, though, as I have freezey cold toes and crave a hot water bottle. And hot water melon (hahaha) too, now! If I could only ever eat one food for the rest of my life, t’would be watermelon, but luckily I don’t have that proviso so I can try your recipe (when summer comes, at least) with all it’s beautiful additions! I bet it must be so delicious!

    I’m sorry to hear about your laptop. I hope you didn’t loose too much material? Machines should be totally infallible, but alas, no. Hopefully you manage to find a worthy replacement soon so that there’s one less thing to worry about, and you can just concentrate on dealing with the heat – and keeping the kitchen floor clean enough to sleep on ;)

    Hugs x

    • I am still laptop-less which is why I have been so terrible at answering comments, reading blogs and other such things, sob! Thanks for the lovely message and the sympathy, though I really have been yabbering about our hot weather for a long time now, haven’t I?! Hope that your weather is warming up a bit now… opposite to us as we enter Autumn. Haha… and with Loki I think my standards of cleanliness have dropped a little… his hair is EVERYWHERE xx ;)

  14. This is just beautiful Laura! I feel like running out to get watermelon and serving it to my family. Who wouldn’t love these flavours and the sheer beauty of a handful of ingredients so cleverly put together. Gorgeous!

  15. Oh, hang in there, Laura, my friend! I forget — being in the northern hemisphere — that the rest of the planet is experiencing summer. I so understand how you feel! I used to live in a fifth floor walk up in Brooklyn with no A/C and yes, who could bear to light the oven? This watermelon salad reminded me how much I love watermelon salad — it’s perfect and yours looks SO delicious. Thanks for sharing, love, and hope things cool off soon! Much love and cooling thoughts, xoxo Christina

    • It’s funny isn’t it, being on the opposite sides of the world? I’ve been cooling myself down with pictures of snow and ice! I do hope that things are gradually warming up for you though Mackenzie. It’s pretty much spring for you whilst we roll into autumn! Thanks for the lovely words xx

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