Twenty years ago, no one in the States thought of throwing watermelon into anything other than a fruit salad. But in the past two decades, Americans have come to accept it underneath salty cheeses, amplified by spicy chilies, or grilled alongside shrimp. I’m going a step further to recommend you throw some anchovy into the mix. This snack is healthy, addictive, and startlingly refreshing. Spoon it into the endive spears for a more formal presentation, or serve the spears piled high next to a bowl of the relish to evoke chips and dip.
1 cup watermelon, diced into 1/4-inch cubes, seeds removed
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons parmigiana-Reggiano, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dill, picked and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons boquerones or regular anchovy fillets, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 heads Belgian endive
Zest and juice of 2 oranges, whisked together
In a small bowl combine the first 6 ingredients plus 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to thoroughly combine and store in the fridge till you’re ready to serve. It will hold up to 3 hours before the watermelon begins to soften.
Cut the root off the endive and discard the outer leaves. Separate the spears, reserving the medium to large ones for this dish. Chop up the remaining spears and save them for your mixed green salads. Toss the endive with the orange zest, juice, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. It’s going to seem like a lot of orange product, but I want it juicy. Reserve the leftover juice that leaches off the spears.
If you choose to stuff the endive, spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the watermelon mix on the wispy tipped end of each spear and drizzle the remaining OJ over the top of the whole presentation. If you choose to serve it like chips and dip, make sure the leaves are wet with OJ before you dip. That little bit of juicy elegance makes it great. And make sure all the components are really cold.
From Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard. Copyright 2016. Reprinted with permission from Little, Brown and Company.
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