Watermelon Jicama Salad

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I’ve finally fessed up to subscribing to People Magazine. I feel like it keeps me up-to-date on the who’s who and what’s happening. It’s probably not working because I’ve never been accused by my kids of being hip. But occasionally, there are recipes in the back pages of People, and some times I make them, like this fabulous salad.

It’s watermelon, jicama, Oaxaca cheese, arugula, and candied sunflower seeds, topped with a zingy lime dressing.

The chef is Matthew Trebek, who owns Oso restaurant in Harlem, New York. It serves Southwestern cuisine, and this salad is on the menu. The good thing is that it appears that Oso survived the pandemic.

Chef Trebek is also the son of Alex Trebek, who is a well known game show host in the U.S.

What I loved about this recipe are the two main ingredients – watermelon and jicama. When I went to California to attend college one of my roommates turned me on to jicama. She ate jicama with lime juice and salt, and that’s how eat jicama to this day.

And who doesn’t like watermelon?! Well, I actually have a friend who doesn’t, so I won’t share with him. However, because I still can’t drive because of my hand surgery, I’ve been relying on teenage grocery shoppers for my weekly deliveries. And I ended up with a yellow watermelon!


It tastes the same as the red, of course, but I’m weird about food colors. I prefer red watermelon and red tomatoes.

But I persevered, and wow this salad is incredible. I hope you make it. Seriously.

Watermelon Jicama Salad

1/2 medium shallot
1/2 serrano chile
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
4 ounces arugula
1/2 small seedless watermelon (20 ounces) cut into matchsticks
1/4 medium jicama (9 ounces) cut into matchsticks
6 ounces Oaxaca, cut into thin strips

Combine shallot, chile, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons of salt in a blender jar. With blender running, add oil in a steady stream until blended, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Place sunflower seeds and remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has caramelized and amber in color, about 9 minutes.

Pour onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Break apart into clusters.

Arrange greens, watermelon and jicama on a large platter. Scatter with cheese strips.

Top with candied seeds and add about 1/2 cup dressing.

Then dig in!

It’s really flavorful with the arugula mixed in with the other ingredients, and the dressing is fabulous.

I’m making it again soon, but omitting the candied sunflower seeds. I didn’t feel they were an integral part of the salad, but if you want crunch, include them.

Tomato Salad with a Twist

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I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never seen a tomato and watermelon salad on blogs. Cause I have. I just hadn’t eaten one until I was in New York City recently visiting my daughter.

She took us to Governor’s Island for a beautiful walk, followed by lunch at Island Oyster. The view of the Manhattan skyline was spectacular.

It was there I had my first lobster roll, for which the restaurant is popular. We shared the tomato watermelon salad.

Well, the lobster roll was exquisite, but so was the salad. Once home, I decided to make my own tomato and watermelon salad, but with a twist.

When I received some fresh peaches a few weeks ago, I stuck a few slices in a jar of apple cider vinegar, along with a couple chile peppers. This is the photo I posted on Instagram.

For the vinaigrette, I used this fruity-zingy vinegar whisked together with good olive oil and a bit of salt. It’s always interesting that fruit pales when stored in vinegar or vodka over time.

I first chopped my garden-ripe cherry and grape tomatoes in half and added them to a paper towel-lined bowl to rest for about 30 minutes and release unnecessary liquid.

Discard the paper towel, then chop the watermelon and add them to the tomatoes, along with a small, finely-chopped shallot. Season with salt and pepper.

Add peach vinaigrette to taste to the tomato and watermelon salad and stir gently.

Season with more salt and pepper if desired.


As delicious as this salad is, I decided on a little more zing so I diced a jalapeno and added it.

I preferred the salad this way, but of course the jalapeño is optional. And if you don’t like biting into bits of chile pepper, you can always include a few squirts of Tabasco in your vinaigrette.

I’d originally thought I’d use the peachy vinegar on some butter lettuce, maybe with avocado, but with this salad, it adds a different sweetness from the watermelon, plus a zing from the chile peppers.

All this salad needs is some good olive oil and perhaps a white balsamic, however. The peach vinegar is not a requirement!

Watermelon Margaritas

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Well, leave it to Facebook to help me out with a recipe dilemma. My (adult) daughters have bugged me for quite a few years about making these watermelon margaritas again that I’d made once. In my memory, as well, they were so refreshing and tasty. But I didn’t remember how I’d made them.

And then, the other day, June 28th, to be exact, there it was, on Facebook. A memory, dated 7 years ago:

Watermelon Margarita
blender full of frozen watermelon chunks
1 cup tequila, or to taste
Juice of 4-5 limes, about 3 ounces
2 ounces agave nectar

There was no blog back then, but why I didn’t write the recipe down on a recipe card, like I’ve done for 40 years is beyond me.

But, just in time for watermelon season, we’re making this recipe and having watermelon margaritas. Unfortunately one daughter doesn’t live here, and the other is pregnant, so there’s more for the rest of us!!!

The first thing to do is buy a giant seedless watermelon, unless you enjoy dealing with the seeds.

Cut up the beautiful red flesh into cubes, and freeze them in sealable bags.

When you’re ready to have margaritas, fill up the blender with the frozen watermelon chunks, add the tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar.

Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately; they will be nice and slushy.

Don’t be tempted to add a little more tequila. It will mask the watermelon flavor.


Trust me on this.

Watermelon Pecorino Salad

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It’s been a long time since I’ve purchased a cookbook. I’m a little embarrassed at how many I own, although I do use them. So I promised myself I’d wait a while. And then there it was.

I was in a cute shop while on vacation, and the cookbook practically screamed at me. The cover was beautiful, but I’m not one to only judge books by their covers. Especially with how sophisticated food styling and photography have become.

But this book was a little different in that there was cheese in the cover photo, which always gets my attention! And right there were two of my favorites – Humboldt Fog, bottom left, and a Foja de Noce wrapped in walnut leaves, top left, a Pecorino that I discovered from the last cheese book I purchased. In any case, I couldn’t resist the book, called “The Cheesemonger’s Seasons.”
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The recipes are “cheese-centric” and range from appetizers to desserts, but what I liked most that there are four chapters – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. That’s my kind of book!

So after I returned home, I perused the summer chapter of the cookbook, and that’s when I saw this salad. A very simple one that includes watermelon (check), Pecorino (check), white balsamic vinegar (check), and mint (check). I could make it the following day!
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The salad is simple yet exquisite. It would be a wonderful first course to a summer meal. Also, if all of the major components were skewered, they would make fabulous hors d’oeuvres, drizzled with white or regular balsamic vinegar.

Watermelon with Pecorino Stravecchio and White Balsamic Vinegar
From The Cheesemonger’s Seasons

One 1-lb chunk ripe watermelon
2 ounces Pecorino Stravecchio or other aged sheep’s-milk cheese*
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh mint
Freshly cracked black pepper

Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut the flesh into 1/2″ cubes, or use a small melon baller to make same-size balls.

Place the watermelon in a medium bowl. Cut the Pecorino into 1/4″ cubes, or break it into rougher chunks about half the size of the watermelon pieces.

Add the cheese to the watermelon and toss with the vinegar, mint, and a few grindings of pepper.

Divide among individual plates or cordial glasses and serve immediately.

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I personally think Parmesan or Manchego would work just as well as a Pecorino and more cheese needs to be used than what is shown in my photos. This is probably not the fault of the recipe, I just wasn’t going to eat a whole watermelon! (My husband wont eat vinegar.)

Although the cubed cheese looks pretty, smaller crumbles would work better. This salad, I feel, is about the combination of the watermelon and Parmesan, not alternating one bite of each.

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I also ended up using a lot more balsamic vinegar in my salad, but in any case the salad was delicious and refreshing!

note: I love this cookbook but I have two issues with it. One is the index, and the other is the lack of photos. I prefer to have a photo with each dish in order to see it plated.