Pickled Watermelon Rind (Momofuku)
In the cookbook, the authors mention that they have used the pickles in a simple plate of frisee lettuce and lardons, and I picked up the idea for my dinner above: a fennel salad with a lemon/olive oil dressing, some of the pickles, and crisp fried bacon. Delicious, and a very refreshing combo.
The recipe as printed in Momofuku
Pickled Watermelon Rind
makes about 1 quart
(I had half a watermelon the size of a bowling ball, which resulted in a 1 liter / quart ice cream container full of pickles.)
1/2 medium watermelon, the rind including 1/2 inch red flesh
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp plus 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 whole star anise
1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1. Cut the watermelon rind into 1-inch-thick slices. Carefully slice the skin off each slice, and cut the slices into 1-inch chunks.
2. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, star anise, and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the watermelon rind and boil for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a quart container. Cool and then refrigerate.
These pickles are ready to eat in a couple of hours and will keep for about a week and a half-they start to lose flavor and get too soft after that.
Slicing and especially peeling the watermelon rind was quite a chore, to say the least. Finally I realized I had just the right tool at hand – a ceramic knife. (A ceramic peeler would have been useful, too, but the knife also made cutting the tough rind a snap).
I soaked the salty pickles in some vinegar and water / white wine and water, and eventually they were perfect.
A very surprising and tasty recipe – so next time you eat a watermelon or make watermelon margarita, don’t discard of the rind – make pickles instead.