This salad is terrific on a hot summer day and is so simple, refreshing and unusual that's it's absolutely delightful. It's another riff on something we had recently in a terrific New York restaurant and is my own variation and improvisation on a Malaysian salad. Here is my "Pickled Watermelon and Scallion Salad".
Many people don't like pickles or the concept of anything that is pickled. I can understand that, as just last night I ate a dish that was completely overwhelmed by vinegar and totally ruined the food. I promise, this is a very gentle and subtle pickling, it's not even tart so much as crunchy and bright. I used a sweet Japanese cooking wine, to keep it from being too tart. This is a great dish to make when your watermelon is a day past perfectly ripe; it helps revive the juicy crunch if it's edging toward softness. Easy, delicious, fresh and surprisingly deep in flavor, this salad works terrific with fish or pork or anything that you choose to make that's either spicy or salty. In the restaurant we had it as an appetizer to spicy chili crab and it was perfect!
1/2 small seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. Mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)
1/2 T. granulated sugar
1 T. kosher salt
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
3 scallions: white and light green slices on bias, dark green sliced in long, thin strips
sesame seeds for garnish
1. Peel and cut watermelon and set aside. Slice scallions with green in long thin strips and white thinly sliced on bias and set aside in a small bowl.
2. No more than 2 hours before serving, mix the rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Add the watermelon and toss gently. Let marinate no more no 2 hours.
3. Drain off the pickling juice, reserving at least 1 teaspoon of juice. Let watermelon strain through a sieve or colander.
4. Add watermelon to a bowl, add in scallions. Mix the reserved pickling juice and toasted sesame oil together as a dressing and drizzle over the watermelon salad. Gently toss with hands and sprinkle in the sesame seeds. Serve immediately, best at room temperature.