Savory watermelon is magic. Bake, then marinate it to create a vegan tuna poke bowl. But if turning on your oven doesn’t sound like a good idea, especially during the warmer months, simply throw it into a hot pan (be careful, water-filled watermelon sputters) to create this savory+seared version.
For this tataki-style appetizer, small slabs of watermelon are seared in a hot pan, which allows the sugars to caramelize on the outside, giving it a beautiful, dark-marbled look all over. You can serve this plain, or drizzled with a little ponzu and ground ginger or sprinkled with a few sesame seeds if you like. Throw some microgreens over the top to finish if you’re feeling fancy.
Yield 4 servings
FOR THE WATERMELON
- 4 ,4-inch long X 1-inch thick slabs of watermelon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 teaspoons ponzu (check ingredients for fish)
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, to garnish
- a few pinches of smoked salt
- microgreens or chopped scallions, to garnish
- soy sauce
- Preheat the oil in a large, cast iron pan over medium-high for 2-3 minutes, a little less if it starts to smoke. Place the slabs of the watermelon onto the skillet, taking care to watch for any sputtering of the water from the watermelon. Turn the heat down just a bit if there is a lot of sputtering. Allow to sear on one side for about 3 minutes, or until it has a nice color, pressing on it slightly with a spatula. Flip and sear the other sides for 2-3 minutes more, or until they have a nice sear all over.
- Transfer to a cutting board, and allow to slightly cool. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, and transfer to plates. Combine the ponzu and grated ginger, then drizzle evenly over each slab, then sprinkle with a few pinches of smoked salt. Garnish with a few microgreens or scallions if you like and serve with soy sauce.