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Grill Recipe: Pressed Watermelon Salad

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Photo by Andre Baranowski

To give watermelon a compressed steak-like texture, Chef Rich Parente of Clock Tower Grill in Brewster vacuum seals his watermelon while it marinates. Don’t have a vacuum sealer? Compress it with weights (like heavy cans or pots) as it marinates for a similar effect. Serves 4

For the Salad

• 4 1”-thick slices of watermelon
• ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for corn
• 2 ears of corn
• ½ cup neutral oil
• 1⁄3 cup cider vinegar
• ¼ cup honey, preferably local
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 cup crumbly local cheese, such as Hoofprint goat feta
• ¼ lb sprouts
• salt and pepper to taste
• toasted nuts or sunflower seeds (optional)

1. Marinate watermelon in olive oil overnight.

2. Preheat the grill over high heat. Season watermelon with salt and pepper. Rub corn with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Grill watermelon and corn over high heat just until the watermelon has grill marks on each side and the corn is charred in spots. Remove from grill, and let cool slightly.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together neutral oil, vinegar, honey, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

5. Cut kernels off the cobs. To finish the salad, arrange melon slices (you can cut the grilled melon into large dice, if preferred); garnish with corn, cheese, and sprouts; and dress with vinaigrette to taste. If desired, top with toasted nuts or sunflower seeds.

– Drink Up! –

What’s a summer cookout without a drink by the grill? We asked Shai Kessler, owner of Reed Street Bottle Shop in Coxsackie, and Brendon O’Brien, craft beer director at DeCicco & Sons, to provide the perfect wine and Hudson Valley craft beer pairings for our grilling recipes.

Suarez Family Brewery Settle Down

“Suarez Family Brewery has become one of the most revered breweries in the Hudson Valley. This wheat beer’s bright, refreshing character is a beautiful accompaniment to the fresh vibrancy of watermelon and the creamy texture provided by crumbly cheese.” —O’Brien

Eminence Road Farm Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé 2018, $23

“A savory fruit dish? Pair it with this savory New York State rosé. Dark in color, and big on flavor, this shop favorite will hold up to your boldest summertime fruit and veggie dishes.” —Kessler