Special On The Menu: Watermelon Avocado Salad


In the summer when I'm not entertaining, my weekly menu consists of mainly some kind of salad variety (read: variety) for it's no fuss, quick to throw together (sans using a hot oven), fool proof ease and it gives me the opportunity to be inventive in what I can mix together. I'm not really 'a basic plain tossed green salad with tomatoes' kind of person (not that there's anything wrong with it, cause I'll eat one every now and then), but I get bored quickly and just could not eat it day in, day out. So I'm always on the look out for new interesting salad combinations ideas to add to my repertoire of "inventos", which is the name I like to call my own creations.
That's why I was excited several weeks ago when the hubby and I tried this (new to us) place for lunch recommended by one of our employees. The waiter strongly suggested I try their special on the menu that day - 'the watermelon avocado salad'. It consisted of watercress salad, thick chunks of watermelon slices, sheep's milk feta topped with pistachios - a perfect balance of sweet, and salty with a little bit of crunch from the pistachios. Hands down, another deliciously healthy salad variation added to my summer salad arsenal. Part of the fun for me in fine dining is the inspiration I draw from some of the most amazing chef's creations out there - their gift of turning simple ingredients into complex delectable cuisine that more often than not has my wheels turning and sometimes catapults my imagination into trying new ideas with my own recipes. Of course, the part that I even love more is the art of plating (how it gets presented) as one definitely eats with the eyes first. I'm a firm believer in beautiful food presentation, so the anticipation of when that plate gets brought to the table is beyond exhilarating. It's kind of like the anticipation of waiting to see what Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Lopez wears on the red carpet. Can you sense that I love food? Eating out for me is like going to culinary school without being under the pressure of keeping up with the mayhem of learning in a chef's class, although I swear it's costing me/us close to the same amount of schooling. Anyway, I completely digress...back to the salad. I made my interpretation of it at home recently and this is what I did... 




Ingredients 
1 Small seedless watermelon 
1 avocado
1 bag of shaved and grated cheese (I used the Regal-Blend consisting of: Parmesan, Asiago, and bold Romano - similar to this or use sheep's milk feta)*

Directions
Slice watermelon into 1"inch slices 
Slice Avocado on a slant (for visual interest - optional) 1"inch slices
Apportion your well mixed salad (dressing recipe below) on a plate, then position your watermelon slices on top with avocado, glazed walnuts, drizzle with reduced balsamic vinaigrette (optional), and top with grated cheese.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey
1 fresh garlic clove minced 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
A bag of mix greens

Directions


Put all ingredients in a jar (except greens) and shake until all the ingredients are incorporated well. Toss your salad with a couple tablespoons of the dressing with your salad. Then refrigerate the rest of your vinaigrette (can store up to two weeks) for other salads when needed.





Agave Glazed Walnuts Recipe
Ingredients
2 cups walnuts
2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup agave syrup (maple syrup or honey are also great options)
Pinch of salt

Directions
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts, agave syrup and salt to the melted butter. Stir frequently, until walnuts are toasted and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer walnuts on wax paper. Make sure to spread them while hot (to avoid them sticking together) and let cool down.



*You can omit the cheese if you're lactose intolerant. Another way to plate this salad is to put the watermelon first on your dish, then add all the ingredients on top.



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