August 3 marks National Watermelon Day, and while nothing says summer quite like chowing down on a big ol’ wedge of watermelon, cheeks awash in sticky pink fruit, some cultured Neapolitans might be looking for something a little more sophisticated to celebrate this day. These sweet, savory, and refreshing watermelon-centric recipes hold a little something for everyone.
Watermelon Margarita (serves 4)
- 2 tsp. natural sugar (for rim of glasses)
- 2 fresh limes, cut in halves
- 4 cups watermelon, seeded and cut in 2-inch chunks
- 2 tbsp. natural sugar
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 oz. tequila (go with 6 oz. for a stronger batch)
- 2 oz. orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Watermelon balls, for garnish
Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a small dish. Rub rim of margarita glasses with 1 cut half of lime, and then roll glasses in sugar to coat. Place prepared glasses in the freezer until ready to serve drinks. Combine juice of limes, watermelon, 2 tablespoons sugar, tequila and orange-flavored liqueur in a blender and process until smooth. Fill blender with ice cubes and process until mixture is a slush consistency. Fill prepared glasses with margaritas; garnish each glass with lime wedge and watermelon balls on a skewer and serve immediately.
- 1 sprig of mint
- ½ lime, peeled
- 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
- 4 oz. seedless watermelon (or seeded), cut into cubes
- 2 oz. white rum
In a heavy glass or Mason jar, combine mint, lime and sugar. Muddle until sugar dissolves. Add watermelon and muddle until liquefied. Stir in rum and fill with ice, garnish with a wedge, and serve immediately.
Watermelon-Mint Bellini (serves 8)
- 3 cups watermelon, seeded and cut in 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 sprig mint
- 3 cups chilled Prosecco
Place watermelon, sugar, lemon juice, mint and one cup of wine in a blender; process until smooth. Pour about 1/3 cup of mixture into eight champagne flutes each. Top with 2 oz. Prosecco and serve.
Watermelon Gin Fizz (serves 4)
- 6 cups watermelon, cubed
- 6 oz. Plymouth Gin, (1½ oz. per serving)
- 8 tbsp. lime juice (2 tbsp. per serving)
- 1 1/3 cups soda water (1/3 cup per serving; can substitute with ginger ale)
First, cube watermelon, and then divide portions into four and two cups. On a wax paper-lined baking sheet, place the two-cup portion evenly spaced and freeze; these cubes will act as the perfect substitute for ice. Place the remaining four cups of watermelon in a food processor or blender and puree. Strain the juice equally into four Old Fashioned glasses filled with frozen watermelon cubes. Stir in gin (1½ oz.), lime juice (2 tbsp.) and top with soda water (roughly 1/3 cup) per glass; garnish with a lime wedge.
Spicy Watermelon & Farmer’s Cheese Salad (serves 4 as a salad course, 6-8 as a small bite)
- 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 3 tbsp. Minus 8 vinegar (see note)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled farmer’s cheese
Place watermelon cubes and crumbled farmer’s cheese in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine. Spoon into jars and sprinkle with vinegar. Refrigerate until serving.
Note: Minus 8 Vinegar is an ice wine style vinegar barrel aged in a 1997 solera system. Minus 8 Vinegar is named after the temperature at which the grapes are harvested. Made from at least 8 varieties of ice wine on a Canadian vineyard, then aged for years in French oak barrels.
Watermelon and Shrimp Cocktail Skewers (serves 4)
- ½ medium-sized watermelon, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 32 cubes)
- 32 large shrimp, cleaned, poached and chilled
- ½ bunch fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup rice vinegar (or mild-flavored vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 8 6-inch bamboo skewers
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and the peanut butter until completely blended. Add in the garlic, ginger, and soy sauce until fully combined. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour most of the dressing over the shrimp, reserving some sauce for dipping. Chill marinated shrimp for 1 hour. To assemble, alternate shrimp, watermelon cubes and torn basil leaves on 8 skewers. Serve skewers with leftover sauce.