All right, I’ll admit it, I’m getting a bit turned on by all of the pickling that’s been going on. I tried to resist, but everywhere I turn there’s pickled peppers, pickled cucumbers, pickled beans…pretty much every vegetable (and a bunch of fruits) are being bathed in salt, sugar and vinegar solutions and turned into tangy treats. It’s kind of like those old after school specials that they used to show to convince kids that eating disorders, drugs and running away are bad. But they had the opposite affect on me. How do you think I learned the in’s and out’s of eating disorders and which one was right for me (let’s just say it wasn’t anorexia). All of the recent chatter on pickling got me to start down the path.
So for my latest trick I decided that the watermelon sitting on my counter was going to get the juice and pickle treatment. I realize that sounds like some kind of new foreplay, but it really means that I decided to juice the pink part of the melon and make pickled watermelon rind out of the watermelon remains (that doesn’t sound much better). We recently had these at a dinner party and couldn’t get enough of them, and neither could anyone else – we wiped out their entire batch of pickled watermelon.
Before they put little plates of watermelon pickles on our tables, they served us an elegant appetizer that we were all surprised to learn was actually pickled watermelon rind topped with Coho salmon, which is a sustainable seafood. As strange as the combination of pickle and fish sounds, there were so many oooh’s and aaah’s it was almost deafening. That, and several people got stabbed with toothpicks when trying to sneak a second helping before everyone got their first taste.
Speaking of sustainable seafood….I recently attended a sustainable seafood event (at Bluewater Grill that has a menu that’s 85% sustainable) where we learned the in’s and out’s of wild seafood, farmed seafood, which species are perfectly sustainable (that would be oysters and clams) and what to look for when buying seafood from different places (how to determine if it is in fact sustainable seafood). As a fairly large consumer of seafood, it’s important to me to eat what is most fresh and is not being over harvested. You can check out the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program or Seafood For The Future to learn more about the species that are recommended for their sustainability.
Sustainable seafood is seafood from either fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the ecosystems from which it was acquired. The sustainable seafood movement has gained momentum as more people become aware about both overfishing and environmentally-destructive fishing methods.
So back to the watermelon pickles….I took an Asian flavoring approach for this simple pickle recipe. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients, but they’re all easy to find and the actual pickling process consists of heating and pouring (easy, right?).
Not up on all of the latest pickling techniques and trends? You can learn straight from the Masters (the fine team that enabled my taste buds to savor the pickled watermelon/salmon combo) Chicks with Knives. These 2 women do things with knives, and food, that are incredibly flavorful and fun. If you can’t take one of their classes, you can pick up some of their tasty pickled produce.
To make the elegant appetizer, I used sushi grade, sustainably farmed salmon to top my watermelon pickles. If you intend to serve the salmon raw, make sure that where you buy the fish ensures you that it is sushi grade (you don’t want to make your guests ill). If you don’t want to serve the salmon raw, or can’t get sushi grade fish where you are you can also briefly sear the salmon before cutting it and laying it on top of the pickled watermelon rind. It will still be delicious.
Seven romantic gestures that must go away.
- If you’re in the shower with me, don’t wash my hair. You are not skilled at doing this, this does not turn me on and quite frankly I feel like I’m drowning. This is not “The Notebook.” There are many other things that you could better spend your time on if you are in the shower with me. Use your time wisely.
- Don’t buy me candy. You know how I complain about my ass being fat and the ol’ favorite: I’ve got nothing to wear because my clothes don’t fit? You aren’t helping me one bit by bringing home a 2 pound box of See’s chocolates for my birthday.
- I don’t need to be hand fed. Literally. I don’t need you to take pointy utensils and shove them in my mouth. Let’s not take the chance that you accidentally poke the inside of my lip, causing a ginormous canker sore, because I’ll be forced to tell everyone you gave me herpes. Also, I’m a big girl and am well versed in the usage of utensils. I can shovel food in my pie hole just fine. Oh, and since we are not two cute cartoon pups from “Lady and the Tramp,” it is not cute for the two of us to suck on the same piece of spaghetti.
- Your newly found photography hobby will not include nude pictures of me. I’ll be naked when we’re having sex and we don’t even have to turn out all of the lights, but I will not become part of your digital portfolio. People once feared having their pictures taken because they believed you were capturing your soul. I believe that taking nude pictures of me captures my skinny soul and replaces it with a chubby girl who then gets her life sucked away because you post it on your Facebook page.
What are your romantic gestures that you would like to banish?
Recipe: Pickled Watermelon Rind
- 1 3-5 Pound Watermelon
- 2 Cups Unseasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Star Anise
- 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 2 Knob Fresh Ginger (peeled)
- 2 Tablespoons Pink Peppercorns
- 1 Teaspoon 5 Spice Powder
- 4 Cardamom Pods (crushed)
- Peel from 1 Lemon
- Cut the watermelon rind into 1″ thick slices (with the skin peeled off of the slices).
- Combine the the rest of the ingredients into a saucepan and brinig to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the watermelon rind and boil for 1 minute.
- Carefully transfer the rind and liquid to a glass container (that can be closed tightly).
- Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
- They are ready to eat in just a couple of hours but will only keep for about a week. (Watermelon rind gets too soft after a week.)
For serving as an appetizer – 1/2 Pound of sushi grade salmon should be sliced to 1/8″ thickness. Drape salmon over top of pickled watermelon rind. Pierce through the pickle and salmon with a toothpick. Lightly sprinkle with 5 spice powder. To serve with seared salmon – remove skin from salmon filet. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Once hot, sear fish for 2-3 minutes per side. (The middle will still be cool.) Slice into 1/8″ slices and continue with directions as above.
Preparation time:20 Minutes
Cooking time:5 Minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (General)