Today we’re going to make a delicious watermelon dish. First I picked some beautiful Dutch watermelons in a greenhouse near my house and I used them to make a glazed dry aged watermelon dish. It's glazed with a tomato glaze and I use the rind to make a compote.
It’s just a short drive from my place and it’s so cool to see that these beautiful watermelons are grown on Dutch soil. These Dutch watermelons are a real seasonal product, and they are harvested from July till the end of September. Because the farmer respects the season, the greenhouse is only heated a couple days a year if that’s even necessary. Did you know that a watermelon is actually not a fruit? It’s family from the cucumber, so it’s a vegetable. The Dutch watermelons are ripened to perfection which gives them a thin peel and a sweet and deep flavor.
The ponzu marinade for the watermelon
dried comb seaweed
dried bonito flakes
First mix the mirin with the rice vinegar and the dried kombu seaweed. Now bring this to a simmer for two minutes on a medium heat. Then turn down the heat and add the dried bonito flakes. Let it marinade for 10 minutes. After that pass the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl. Then add the soy sauce and season it with yuzu juice. Yuzu juice is quite expensive, so you can also just use 1 part of lime juice and 1 part of lemon juice. I add 200 grams of Yuzu juice. This is going to make it super fresh, which I love. Otherwise just add small bits a time and keep on tasting it. Now transfer it into a jar and then you can keep it in your fridge for around 4 to 5 days. Otherwise just freeze it in small batches or in ice cubes.
Take one watermelon and remove the peel. Keep the peel for later. Now cut the watermelon in thick slices and transfer them on a tray. Brush a generous amount of the ponzu on both sides of the watermelon and then dry it 90 degrees Celsius for around 5 to 6 hours. Turn it every hour for a nice even end result. Then let it cool down in your fridge.
The peel compote
The watermelon peel
First cut the white part of the skin. This is called the rind. Cut those slices in small cubes. We call those cubes brunoise. Now measure 100 grams of the rind brunoise in a saucepan and also add the rice vinegar and the ginger syrup. Then heat it up on a medium heat till the liquid is reduced. Transfer it into a bowl and let it cool down in your fridge.
The tomato glaze
Transfer the overripe tomatoes in a blender together with the rice vinegar, the maple syrup, the salt and the madeira. Then blend this till smooth. Once it’s smooth pass it through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Use a ladle to make the whole process a bit easier. Then add the cardamom and reduce the tomato sauce on a low heat till it becomes sticky and super flavorful. After that transfer it into a bowl, remove the 5 pieces of cardamom and let it cool down in your fridge. Once it’s cold transfer it into a blender. Then add a knife tip of the Xanthan gum and blend it to prevent the glaze from splitting. Keep it in your fridge for later.
The capper cream
neutral oil (I use sunflower oil)
First mix the ice cubes with the egg white, the sushi vinegar, the salt and the cappers. Then blend this till completely smooth. Once it’s smooth add the neutral oil and blend it into a beautiful cream. Transfer it into a piping bottle and keep it in your fridge for later.
The fried cappers
First heat up some oil till it’s 210 degrees Celsius and meanwhile dry some cappers on some kitchen paper. Then fry the cappers in small batches a time to make the pop up and super crispy. Then let them cool down on a kitchen paper.
How to finish the dish
First it’s optional to already quenelle the compote with two small spoons. It’s going to save you some time during service, but you can also do it a la minute. Then portion the dried watermelon to the desired shape and glaze it with the tomato glaze. Remove any excess glaze by tapping the tray and the drizzle the capper cream on top. Now transfer two of the glazed watermelon pieces on a plate and place two quenelles of the compote in between. Then decorate it with some cucumber flowers, kalian flowers, the crispy cappers, and some chickweed.