Grilled Watermelon for Labor Day

by Susan Russo
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watermelongrilled.jpgI figure I’ve eaten about 20 pounds of watermelon this summer. Fortunately, it’s 92% water and 0% fat, so my clothes still fit fine.

Even as a kid, I ate a lot of watermelon. Everyone in my family did. I can remember my Dad, his face beet-red from the heat, coming through our back door beaming as he was carrying a colossal watermelon. He always did the same thing: set it down on the kitchen counter and proudly announced its weight – 19 and 1/2 pounds! 23 pounds! Like his lobsta, the bigger it was, the better he liked it.

My brother Chris was always the one to cut the watermelon (seeing as none of the rest of us had his patience). With skills of a surgeon, he extracted every last seed while keeping the melon’s flesh intact. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever seeing seedless watermelons when I was a kid. Did they exist back then?

I do remember, however, that on a stiflingly humid New England day there was little else that could bring as much pure pleasure as a crisp cold piece of watermelon saturated with sweet juice that dripped down your arms and chin as you slurped your way along.

watermelontable.jpgIndeed, my grandmother, Nan, who avoided the sun and heat at all costs, would stay cool in large part by eating chilled watermelon. And she always said the same thing to me when she wanted some: “Susan, I’m so dry. Would you get me another slice of that watermelon?” Then she’d say to me that I "look dry,” and insist I eat more watermelon. I always did and still do.

Even though it’s just the two of us now, I buy watermelon every week and announce the weight to Jeff when he comes home. 15 pounds! 18 pounds! (I told you I've eaten a lot of it). I only buy seedless now; Chris still lives in Rhode Island, and I still don’t have the patience to remove the seeds.

I've made many watermelon dishes this summer, and this grilled watermelon is one of my favorites. If you're planning a Labor Day Weekend Barbecue, then it's a simple and healthy dessert to make.

Wondering how to grill a watermelon? It couldn't be easier. Simply rub some honey on watermelon slices and place on a hot grill for about 2 minutes per side until marks form and they become caramelized. You could eat it just like that or top it with my tangy honey-lime syrup. It contrasts surprisingly well with the slightly smoky flavor of the grilled watermelon.

 

Grilled Watermelon Slices with a Honey-Lime Syrup

Several slices watermelon
Some honey for brushing watermelon slices

Juice of 2 limes
the zest of half a lime
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons water
A few dashes of cayenne pepper
A couple of pinches of salt

Preheat grill to high. Cut watermelon into 1-inch thick slices. Brush each side lightly with some honey and place on grill. Grill until just browned, about 2 minutes per side. Place watermelon slices on a plate and drizzle with the honey-lime syrup.

 

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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