Rind Slop Salad
Now this title isn’t very fair, because today’s dish was entirely edible. I was just struggling for a good heading and feel like I’ve been a bit too free with rhyme and alliteration lately. But it’s true that the title came about as I was considering how many dishes I’ve cooked for this blog using parts of foods I normally would have thrown out (or fed to piggies, if any were handy). I’ve cooked beet greens, lamb bones, garlic greens, fish heads… pretty soon I’ll be serving up corn cobs and pineapple tops, probably in the same meal. Today though, I went for watermelon rinds.
We just got back from camping with my friend Hong, who happened to mention that watermelon rinds are edible. She’s a legit foodie; the type whose house you go to for dinner where you’re fed apps, salad, coconut shrimp soup (where the shrimps are so big you only need two), blackened cod over grilled veg, and then just as you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to make room for dessert she informs you that your meat course is on its way. Just as a not-so-random example. The dessert was either homemade bread pudding or profiteroles that day, I can’t remember which, but the fact that she has served me both before proves my point. This weekend at the campsite she cooked pulled pork over charcoal (ALL DAY) and then topped it with coleslaw and our choice of peach flavoured or traditional homemade barbeque sauce. Homemade s’more brownies for dessert, in honour of the camping theme. Bet most of you would be willing to sleep sans-tent in bear country for that kind of treatment.
Anyway, she mentioned that you could eat watermelon rinds, and so since she’s a walking culinary encyclopedia I knew I could trust what she was dishing out (figuratively, for once). She proceeded to tell me that most people eat it pickled, and here was where I had to exercise caution. I love pickled stuff as much as the next hog, but I know it’s an awful lot of work. She continued, “Oh no, it’s really easy…” but then I tuned her out. Maybe physics is easy for a rocket scientist, but for me it was something I had to make a LOT of time for, and the payoff wasn’t really worth it. I quickly decided to write ‘pickling watermelon rinds’ after ‘physics’ on my “for a very boring rainy day,” list. A few earlier items on that list include ‘golf,’ and ‘become bilingual.’ Too busy to can, reader-san.
Instead I found this recipe that suggested steaming the rinds and using them in a salad, which is what I based the recipe below on. Unfortunately, I’ll spoil the ending and tell you that the results were only pig worthy. Keep reading, though, and I’ll make suggestions at the end.
Watermelon rind slop salad
- Rind of one half of a watermelon, white only (green peeled off with peeler).
My melon had a very thin rind which apparently is how they’re breeding them now. Stop messing with my melons, geneticists, no one asked you! I miss seeds. Anyway, if you get a higher rind yield and want to try original recipe, increase spices
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
- 1/2C cilantro, chopped
- 1Tbsp lemon juice
- 2Tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1/2tsp paprika
- 1/4tsp cayenne
Steam rinds in steamer until soft. They will change colour slightly. Allow rinds to cool. Combine all ingredients, sprinkling spices over so that they’re evenly distributed.
Results: Pretty, but not delicious. The rinds tasted a little like cooked cucumber, which, as I told my husband when he once added it to spaghetti, is a bit wrong. The recipe didn’t taste terrible, but it definitely wasn’t interesting, even though I love cilantro in almost anything. Rating: 1 gag. But I’m not ready to throw the rinds to the squealers just yet. Here is a totally different recipe that I have imagined after knowing what the steamed rinds taste like. Please try it and tell me how it works!
Feta Tomato Rind Salad with Basil and Walnuts
- Watermelon rinds, prepared same as above
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- Good hunk of feta cheese, crumbled
- Handful of walnuts, toasted in pan or under broiler until fragrant (3-5 minutes)
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- Good glug of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Steam rinds and cool, as in previous recipe. Combine remaining ingredients.
I might even prepare this one for Hong! Wish me luck.