Yid.Dish: Watermelon Agua Fresca and Tomato Pie

By Rhea Yablon Kennedy

Published September 02, 2009.
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Cross-posted from Examiner.com

What’s with tomatoes and watermelon this year? I have seen them side by side at local farmers markets, of course, having both come into season recently. But in an odd development, I started to see them together in recipes, too.

JCarrot

At first, I noticed the usual myriad recipes for watermelon-feta salad sometimes included halved cherry tomatoes. Then came the watermelon gazpacho. Then, as if that weren’t enough, watermelon bloody Marys have now poured into the fray, celery sticks and all.

While I cheer combinations like chipotle and chocolate or peaches and basil, I just can’t get into this one.

Perhaps it’s because the flavors of tomato and watermelon are quite close, rather than providing an interesting contrast. They both bring together sweetness and acidity, and have a texture best summed up as “juicy.” Yet each flavor is unique enough to gratify on its own—especially if the tomato or watermelon came fresh from a market stand.

Yes, as the Bitten Word writers decided after those melony Marys, sometimes it’s best to just eat a watermelon—or, better yet, watermelon juice with a splash of vodka.

In honor of keeping it pure and simple, I would like to offer you one recipe just for watermelon and another for tomatoes.

The first one is a simple drink that you can easily embellish with vodka or tequila.

Watermelon agua fresca

(Reprinted courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Serves 6

This light, refreshing drink popularized in Mexico is a terrific thirst quencher on a hot summer day. The trick with making agua fresca (Spanish for “fresh water”) is to infuse the water with fruit essence without turning it into a smoothie or slushy drink. Feel free to experiment with other flavors such as strawberry, mango, cantaloupe and honeydew.

Ingredients

6 to 8 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 cups cold water, divided

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (more or less to taste)

Ice cubes

Lime slices and mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Method

Cut the watermelon flesh from the rind. In a blender, process half the watermelon pieces with 1 cup of water until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat the process with the remaining melon and water. You should end up with about 8 cups of juice. Stir in the lime juice and agave. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and mint.

Next recipe:

Tomato pie

For this delicious savory pie, I’ll turn to Southern food authority Paula Deen. Find the pie on her website, from the episode of her show featuring (what else?) farmers market produce.

Got a favorite watermelon or tomato recipe? Leave a comment and let me know!


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