The nights are getting cooler, fall is approaching. With fall comes football, with football comes tailgating. I love tailgating with my “foodie” friends. They’re not afraid to try gourmet on the grill. Here’s a wonderful recipe from a recent cooking class at Papillion Hy-Vee. The color of the dish — red! — is perfect for tailgating in Nebraska, and watermelon is still in season for the month of September.
By Executive Chef Andy Rager
1 large watermelon
4 ounces goat cheese
2 cups arugula
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Reduce liquid by half, or until it thickens into a syrup consistency. Remove from the heat, and let cool at room temp. Tailgate Note: Make this ahead of time and transport at room temperature.
Meanwhile, cut one-inch planks from the watermelon, square off the watermelon by trimming the rhine. You should be left with just the flesh, in a large square. From there, cut the large square into 4 smaller squares. Each plank should produce 4 squares when finished. Repeat.
Tailgate Note: Cut the watermelon squares ahead of time and transport in cooler.
Place grill pan on the stove, and heat on medium until hot.
Tailgate Note: Pre-heat grill on medium.
Once planks of watermelon have been cut, place the planks on a sheet pan and drizzle with a little of the extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Grill each plank about two minutes. Turn over the planks and repeat grilling on the other side, about two more minutes or until grill marks have formed.
Plating: Place one of the grilled planks in the middle of the plate, top with a little of the arugula and some crumbled goat cheese. Place another of the grilled planks on top (stacking like a tower) add more arugula and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the Balsamic reduction, along with extra virgin olive oil and finish with cracked pepper. Keep in mind you can make these as tall as you would like, but I recommend going two or three high at the most. Enjoy!
A cup of watermelon has only 50 calories. It’s one of the most nutrient-packed fresh fruits. Watermelon is very high in vitamin C, vitamin A and beta carotene, it’s also a great source of carotenoid lycopene, an antioxidant notable for decreasing risk of many cancers.
One cup of Arugula has about 10 calories. Arugula is packed full of nutrients and would be best known for its phytochemical content. Phytochemicals take on many good roles in our bodies, preventing viruses, illness and cancers and even improving communication between cells.
I’m looking forward to good times, grilling with friends and watching the Huskers!