I don't buy watermelon terribly often. If I buy it already cut, it's insipid and soggy. If I manage to find a baby melon, it's a miracle. And a full-sized one is just...huge. It's six or seven pounds of deliciousness, but six or seven pounds of anything is a lot for one person.
But last week? Last week I gave in to temptation. It was hot as Hades (okay, only 99 degrees, but still), and all I could think about was watermelon. Cool, refreshing, lightly sweet watermelon. I ordered one from FreshDirect, knowing full well it would be ridiculously massive.
The first night, I cut off a slab and chopped it up to keep in the fridge, just like my mom used to do when we were little. I chopped off maybe a third, and it took me five days to eat. FIVE DAYS. So much watermelon.
So this weekend, I started thinking about other things I could do with the bounty. I've always had a thing for taking melon to a savory place (I think this fits in well with my love of cucumbers), and, especially, to a spicy place. I'll take pretty much anything to a spicy place, come to think of it. (Unintentional innuendo, for the record.)
I mixed up a light dressing, half olive oil and half sherry vinegar, and added several glugs of Sriracha for heat. I chopped up some red onion and basil, cubed some watermelon, and added a sliced avocado for good measure. I mixed the whole lot a few times with a giant spoon and some salt. The watermlon released a healthy amount of juice, which mixed beautifully with the dressing, taking the edge off of the vinegar's tartness and leaving a depth and complexity I hadn't expected.
Between the distinctively different crunches of the onion and watermelon and the creaminess of the avocado, I was pretty much in heaven. And it was dang pretty, too.
Spicy Watermelon & Avocado Salad
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Sriracha (adjust to your liking)
2 cups watermelon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and Sriracha. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the salt) to a medium bowl and gently mix together. Taste for seasoning and add salt and Sriracha as needed.
Serves two as a side.