As part of the Sizzlin’ Summer Series, I am sharing a recently acquired recipe of Watermelon Fresco. On a recent girl’s night at the Baton Rouge location of Velvet Cactus (they originated in New Orleans), I finally decided to try this interesting side dish. Its main ingredient of watermelon is an unlikely combination with the red onion, banana peppers and cilantro but it is absolutely delicious. The watermelon soaks up the balsamic vinegar and is refreshing, especially during the hot temperatures of summer.
Our new neighbors purchased two large, fresh watermelons from a local farmer in Zachary this past weekend and shared one with us. I immediately thought of this fresco and began searching online for the recipe. I was delighted to find it on Nola.com. I’m now sharing it with you and highly suggest you try it during this year’s watermelon season.
Serves 8 to 10
4 quarts watermelon, seeded, 1″ dice – I used my small scoop tool from Pampered Chef and created balls of watermelon even though it doesn’t really look like it. There must be special training to use this tool!
1-1/2 cups red onion, 1″ dice
1-1/2 cups Queso Fresco, crumbled – I used feta cheese since I couldn’t find this at our local grocery store. It worked just as well!
1-1/2 cups banana pepper rings
1/4 cup juice from banana pepper jar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/8 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon white pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Combine watermelon, onion, cheese and banana peppers in a large bowl. Toss together. Combine banana pepper juice, vinegar and seasoning in a bowl, whisk to combine. Toss dressing on watermelon mixture. Chill well. Serve.
Enjoy my friends!