It's Not Summer without Watermelon

by Susan Russo
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watermelonsalsa.jpgHow much watermelon does the average American consume each year? (answer below)

A. 6 pounds
B. 16 pounds
C. 38 pounds
D. 312 pounds

I love eating plain watermelon in its simple, sweet glory, but it’s also fantastic in savory dishes. The key is to pair it with contrasting flavors such as salty cheeses, bitter salad greens, acidic vinegars, or smoky grilled meats to balance the watermelon's sweetness.

In fact, why not try something different for this summer – like my new Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa? For this dish, char-grilled steak is topped with a sweet and tangy watermelon salsa and crumby Mexican cheese. This salsa is so refreshing that you may want to make extra so your guests can dunk their tortilla chips in it while they're waiting for the steak to grill.

Then, while they're munching, you can show off your watermelon knowledge: the average American eats 16 pounds of watermelon a year! Course, I have over 20 pounds a year myself, so there a few people out there eating less than 16 pounds to average things out.

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa
Makes 4 servings

Salsa:
2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup diced mango
¾ cup diced, de-seeded, peeled cucumber
¾ cup diced jicama
2-3 green onions, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, with half the seeds
1 small avocado, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons each of fresh chopped mint and cilantro
Salt, to taste

steaktacos.jpgSteak:
4 (4-6 oz.) top sirloin steaks
Salt and pepper
8 white corn tortillas
½ cup Cotija Anejo cheese

Heat the grill to high. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Place steaks on the grill, close cover, and cook until charred, about 5 minutes. Closing the cover will help create a charred exterior and a softer, juicer interior. Turn steaks over, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook another 3-4 minutes for a medium-rare steak or 5-6 minutes for a medium steak. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Heat tortillas on the top rack of grill for about for 1 minute per side or until warmed through.

Place the sliced steak on the tortilla shell, spoon some salsa on top, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Note: Cotija Anejo is a mild flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture and can be found in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets.

 

 

Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of  Recipes Every Man Should Know and The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.

 

 

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