Watermelon and Tomato Trio
Watermelon Steak, Tomato Salad, and Watermelon Refresher
Top Chef, Season 2, Episode 7
- 1 small seedless watermelon
- 1 large heirloom tomato
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Pinch of sugar, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, or more to taste
- 2 large sprigs opal basil, cut into chiffonade, plus small sprigs for garnish
- Nasturtium leaves for garnish
- Bee pollen for garnish
- Fleur de sel
Using a sharp knife, cut the ends off the watermelon and stand it upright. Cut all of the rind off the watermelon, leaving the flesh in one piece. Cut crosswise into four 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Using a biscuit cutter or another 1 1/2- to 2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut a “steak” from the center of each slice. Season the steaks with salt and put one on each of 4 serving plates; set aside in the refrigerator to chill.
Cut the ends off the large tomato and save. Cut the tomato into 4 slices. Place 1 tomato round on top of each watermelon steak.
In a blender, puree 2 cups of the remaining watermelon flesh with the heirloom tomato trimmings and 3⁄4 cup of the cherry tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and sugar, then pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-cup measure.
Return half of the liquid to the blender and add the oil and salt and pepper to taste. (Put the other half in the refrigerator to chill.) Blend to combine, then add the vinegar and blend again. Taste the dressing and add more salt or vinegar as necessary.
Cut the remaining cherry tomatoes in half and put them in a medium bowl with the chiffonade of basil and enough of the dressing to coat the tomatoes. Toss together well, then divide the cherry tomato salad among the 4 serving plates. Garnish with nasturtium leaves, opal basil sprigs, and bee pollen. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Pour the reserved watermelon-tomato puree into 4 small glasses or cups and serve alongside the watermelon steaks and salad.