BALSAMIC BASIL WATERMELON ANTIPASTO (vegan primal)
Balsamic Basil Watermelon… Yep that just about says it! Well actually I think the picture says it. We are all looking for simple yet healthy dishes to eat (and serve) and this antipasto fits the bill. Now that the abundance of fresh fruit is back because of the warmer weather, our choices are better than other times of the year. Yes we are still on the cusp of full fledge summer fruits and veggies, but I am seeing some favorites at the market. One of them is watermelon. This fruit is probably one of the most refreshing and versatile of all fruits. I have used it in beverages, salads, desserts, salsa, grilled it, froze it, pureed it, just cut it up and the list goes on and on. A lot of people do not know that watermelon makes GREAT savory dishes too– like my recipe for BALSAMIC BASIL WATERMELON ANTIPASTO. These single bites are a surprising mix of sweet and savory and have a slight tang to them. Not only are they simple elegance in presentation, they are very tasty and healthy too. To top it off, they are simple to make. If you can turn on the stove, stir and use a melon baller then you’ve got it! The hardest part about this recipe is not continually sampling it; remember you need to save it for the party…So next party that you have coming up, consider serving this beautiful antipasto instead of the usual fare.
A CHEF’S TIP: a trick to picking a ripe watermelon is to find one that is free of blemishes, smooth skinned, vibrant color and when you knock on it, it sounds hollow (yes it is true!).
1 cup aged organic balsamic vinegar, unflavored and un-sweetened
1 small/medium (not personal sized) ripe organic seedless watermelon
24 small fresh organic basil tops (if you can only find large stalks of them, use the small tops and reserve the remaining leaves for another recipe) I grow my own
24 round uncolored wooden toothpicks
In a small non-stick sauce pan, pour in the balsamic vinegar.Turn your stove on medium-high heat and while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula, reduce the vinegar to 1/3 cup (it takes about 15 minutes). You will know it is almost done when the reduced vinegar is slightly sticking to the pan and your spatula. At this point turn the heat to high and bring just to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and quickly stir for about 2 minutes to cool, now allow to cool to room temperature- this is your balsamic glaze. Gently wash and spin dry the basil tops, set aside. Wash the outside of the watermelon well with hot water and pat dry. Use a large knife and cut it in half. Use a melon baller tool and remove 24 even melon balls, reserve the trimmings and remaining watermelon for another recipe. LIGHTLY drizzle the serving dish with the balsamic glaze (note it will be thick and it only takes a small amount- about 1/2 a teaspoon for each serving) for each antipasto to be placed on. Place down the melon balls flat side down. Place a basil top on the top of the melon ball and skewer both the basil and the watermelon ball from the top down into the center until it hits the serving plate with a toothpick (this now acts as the way to serve it, just pick them up and eat). Serve and enjoy!