The Czar always suspected that grilling watermelon is a real possibility, and this weekend he took advantage of some old friends stopping by the dacha to do just that. Fortunately, the week before, one of the Czar’s neighbors introduced him to a grilled watermelon salad. The Czar is allergic to most fruits unless they’re cooked, and the neighbors thought this might be a safe thing. Look, the idea of mixing watermelon and onion together seems horrific, but the Czar caught a whiff of their concoction and was heartened enough to try. After a quick taste test, the Czar thought this was a knockout recipe.
There are a bunch of recipes on the internet for this, but here’s the one we did.
Basically, this is a mix of watermelon, onion, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar, none of which sound like they should be combined together. It’s great because you can grill it up hours in advance and let it chill in the refrigerator as long as a day or as short as a half-hour, so you can squeeze this into your grilling routine.
Your ingredients are olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a red onion, a Black Diamond watermelon, some pine nuts, and crumbled feta cheese. Try to get the Black Diamond as it’s usually seedless, inexpensive, and found in lots of stores.
Cut the ends off the onion and slice it vertically down the center, as you would for classic steak grilling. Discard any harder bits: you want the tenderest parts of the onion. Cut half the watermelon in to giant wedges. These are about an inch thick, in quarter-round pieces. Brush both sides of the watermelon and all the onion with olive oil. Put the other half of the watermelon away for the kids, later.
Get your grill going to medium heat. We used gas, but this is equally good over charcoals (not pictured, but definitely verified). When decently hot, put the pieces right on the grill. See the onions? They’re up there, too.
After about two-to-three minutes, flip the watermelon pieces over: check out those grill marks.
After another two-to-three minutes, the watermelon is done. The onion may need a little more, but the Czar put his over a known hot spot on the grill so these all finished up together. Total cooking time: five minutes.
Look at that! The watermelon is evenly grilled on both sides, and the onion is nicely marked up and soft.
Cut the watermelon roughly out of the rinds and dice it up in to easy-to-eat pieces. Julienne the onion as well, or if you’re pressed for time, just cut it up into tiny bits as fast as you can.
Drop the watermelon and onion pieces into a salad bowl. Sprinkle on a lot of the feta cheese, drop some pine nuts if you have them (we did, so we did, but this is totally optional), and then drizzle balsamic vinegar over the whole thing. Gently mix and store in the refrigerator so it sets a bit. You want this served a little cool to cold so the watermelon has some texture restored.
We assure this is a fantastic combination of tastes. Our guests were as thrilled as we were with their first taste. Given the low cost, super-quick prep and cooking time, and the utter exotic nature of it, this one is sure to make your guests impressed.