July 14, 2008

small bites: watermelon and pickled daikon

Summer is finally here up in Seattle, and we've just had a week of spectacular weather. Even in the small amount of time we've been here, I've adapted a bit to the climate, and now 82 degrees feels sweltering. Which makes me crave watermelon.

When I was a kid visiting my relatives in Taiwan, I noticed that they often salted their fruit, including watermelon. At the time, the concept was really off-putting to me. Why ruin all of that sweet goodness with salt? My family tried to explain that the slight saltiness actually accentuated the sweetness, but I just didn't get it back then.

Fast forward to this weekend, and as I was sitting on our sun-drenched porch, I got to thinking of how I could make a bite of watermelon that would be refreshing, but also have an unexpected flavor... something that could both complement the texture and sweetness of the watermelon while also successfully incorporating a discordant element... We had some japanese pickled daikon in the fridge, which has a good level of sweetness characterized by an underlying savory earthiness. Sliced up and layered with watermelon, with a bit of mint as a final accent, and the two flavors came together nicely for a refreshing bite.

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