It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with seafood, so this recipe may come as a surprise to some of you. When I saw the Sesame and Soy Watermelon Poke recipe in Bon Appétit magazine, I wanted to give it a shot. But, why would anyone even consider replacing delicious ahi tuna with watermelon?
A little over a year ago, I got pretty sick from eating sushi. I used to order it a lot, which Mike would say is “a complete understatement.” But, ever since I got sick, I have eliminated raw fish… with exception to oysters, because I simply can’t give up oysters. So, although it just seems wrong to avoid tuna poke, I figured I was a good candidate to try the watermelon version.
One concern I had about this recipe was what the texture of the watermelon would taste like. Good ahi tuna is deliciously smooth and practically melts in your mouth, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The watermelon needs to chill for about 4 hours (or up to 12 hours) in the sauce. Then, you need to separate the watermelon from the sauce using a slotted spoon so you can cook the watermelon separately until it’s slightly caramelized. This helps achieve a very similar texture that you would expect from tuna. I was really impressed and so was Mike. The garnish of scallions and cilantro pull everything together.
This recipe came at the perfect time too, because it gave me a chance to try out my new Vitamix S55 from their personal blender series. The sauce is nothing less than magical and comes together super quickly! I can’t get over how powerful it is… There are individual power settings that you can control and there are also four pre-programmed settings to take the guess work out of blending certain ingredients. I’m pretty much obsessed with my new Vitamix and needless to say, Mike is thrilled that we have one now.
Give this recipe a try. Raw seafood eater or not, I swear you won’t be disappointed. Bon Appétit knows what they’re doing.
Mike and I are going to be traveling to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a couple weeks. I have a photo shoot out there and we’re planning to take some extra time to explore and enjoy the mountains together. We haven’t been out there in the summer since before we got married, so I’m feeling incredibly excited and so very lucky to be able to combine my work with my play. I’ll be back in touch with updates and more tasty recipes soon!
WATERMELON POKE WITH SESAME AND SOY
3 lb. seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tahini
Note: I couldn’t find tahini and used 1 tablespoon of peanut butter instead.
Kosher salt 2 scallions, thinly sliced 1 cup cilantro sprigs for garnish Sesame seeds for garnish
1. Place diced watermelon in a large resealable plastic bag.
2. Purée rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, tahini (or peanut butter) in a Vitamix until smooth.
3. Pour mixture over watermelon in the plastic bag and seal the bag.
4. Let chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
6. Remove watermelon from the marinade using a slotted spoon and set marinade aside.
7. Cook watermelon, tossing often until lightly caramelized, about 6-8 minutes.
8. Bring reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan.
9. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
10. Chill watermelon and sauce separately at least 1 hour. Note: Watermelon and sauce can be made 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
11. To serve, toss watermelon with sauce and top with cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.
Disclosure: This post was in collaboration with Vitamix. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Up Close & Tasty cooking!