…you grill watermelon.
Basically, Mark Bittman could tell me to grow my hair out, start wearing tapered jeans, and end every sentence with a questioning upward lilt like one of the cast members on Beverly Hills: 90210 and I would do it. He's just that good, you guys.
In last week's NY Times Magazine, the man who knows how to cook everything waxed delicious about several delightful non-meat options for your grill (or, in my case, grill pan over a weak gas stove), and I was intrigued, if -- I must admit -- cautiously skeptical.
Now, I'm all for unusual combinations (e.g. strawberry guacamole), but this seemed unfathomable: Wouldn't the watermelon just, you know, get all wet and soppy? And it's already one of the sweetest fruits imaginable -- couldn't grilling and caramelizing it turn the stuff positively cloying?
The answer to both questions is, of course, no. You've just got to learn to trust the Bittman.
There was nothing cloying or gloppy about the watermelon "burger" I enjoyed for lunch the other day: Grilling a steak of the stuff not only eradicated much of the excess moisture, but it also lent a really intoxicatingly savory smokiness that was startlingly "meatier" than I imagined it would be.
Plus, look how sexy those grill marks are on that hot pink flesh. Hubba hubba!
Sliced up, grilled up, and put on a toasted bun with all the usual accoutrements (lettuce, tomato, onion, salt, pepper), I have to say this was one of the most surprising and delightful meatless burgers ever to grace my plate. My only regret? I forgot the cheese.
Never, ever forget the cheese, my friends.
Have you grilled anything unusual this summer? And how is Best Summer Ever v. 2011 going for you so far? Mine has been absolutely stellar, and -- to quote the poet Karen Carpenter -- we've only just begun.