Food & Wine (August 2010)
If you read The Bitten Word much at all, you should know by now that, come summer, there's pretty much nothing we won't try grilling. Whether it's potato chips, lettuce, cake, pizza, panzanella or a low-country boil, we're pretty sure that just about anything tastes better when it's cooked on the grill.
So when we saw this recipe for Grilled Watermelon with Yogurt, we shrugged and said, "Hey, why not?"
We actually weren't sure it would work: Wouldn't the watermelon just disintegrate on the hot grill?
And -- as much faith as we have in the transformative power of grilling -- could this really be any better than a simple slice of fresh watermelon on its own?
Anyway, armed with storebought yogurt, this recipe can be made in a flash. Lemon juice, vinegar and thyme give the yogurt a burst of added flavor, and the mint and olive oil that you finish with give the watemelon a terrific balance of fresh and savory notes. The whole thing takes less than five minutes to throw together, once you've got a hot grill ready.
To our somewhat surprise, the watermelon held up extremely well, and grilling it really played up the melon's natural sweetness, which was tempered nicely by all the cool, tangy yogurt sauce.
And while we do love a plain, unadorned piece of watermelon, we loved all the flavors at play here. It;s a lovely way to dress up a melon.
And it convinced us more than ever that we ought to just grill everything we eat. (Grilled spaghetti, anyone?)
(This photo: Food & Wine)
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or Homemade Greek Yogurt (see below)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Twelve 3-inch-long triangles of seedless red watermelon, about 1 inch thick
1/4 cup small mint leaves
Light a grill. In a bowl, combine the yogurt with the lemon juice, vinegar, thyme and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the watermelon triangles with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until nicely charred, about 1 minute per side; transfer to plates. Top the watermelon with the yogurt sauce and season with black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the mint and serve.
Make Ahead: The yogurt sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Homemade Greek Yogurt
1 quart whole goat's, sheep's or cow's milk
2 tablespoons plain full-fat yogurt (with live active cultures)
Spoon 2 tablespoons of milk into a bowl and stir in the yogurt.
In a saucepan, bring the remaining milk to a boil. Let stand off the heat without stirring, until it registers 100° on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes; a skin will form on the surface.
Using a table knife, make a small opening in the skin and carefully pour the yogurt mixture into the milk in the saucepan. Cover the pot with a kitchen towel and transfer to an oven. Turn the light on and close the oven door. Let stand for 16 hours.
Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, lift off the skin and discard it. Carefully ladle the yogurt into a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth and refrigerate until much of the whey is drained and the yogurt is thick, at least 4 hours. Transfer the yogurt to a bowl and serve.