by Laura Reiley | August 21, 2017

Florida Watermelon Salad by Chef Jason Stocks

Florida watermelon salad with goat cheese, pickled blackberries, basil puree, serrano lemon vinaigrette and pomegranate molasses; Photography by Libby Volgyes

Florida watermelon salad with goat cheese, pickled blackberries, basil puree, serrano lemon vinaigrette and pomegranate molasses. Photography by Libby Volgyes

Read the chef’s full story here.

FLORIDA WATERMELON SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE, PICKLED BLACKBERRIES, BASIL PURÉE, SERRANO LEMON VINAIGRETTE AND POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

SERVES 6-8

FLORIDA WATERMELON SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE

  • 1 small log goat cheese (preferably Turtle Creek Goat Cheese from Loxahatchee)
  • 1 small seedless watermelon, sliced and cubed’
  • 2 cups Pickled Blackberries (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Basil Purée (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup basil hearts
  • 1 cup edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, or squash blossoms)
  • 1 cup Serrano Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (available online or at an Asian market)

PLATING: Bring the goat cheese to room temperature and smear a few tablespoons on the center of 6 plates. Slice and dice watermelon, portion and stack on top of goat cheese. Place a few of the pickled blackberries on and around the watermelon. Drizzle the salad with a small amount of the Basil Purée. Toss the basil hearts and flowers with the Serrano Lemon Vinaigrette and lightly season. Place dressed herbs on and around salad. Drizzle Serrano Lemon Vinaigrette on the watermelon, making sure that each salad has a few slices of serrano chile on it as well. Finish with a little coarse sea salt and drizzle pomegranate molasses on and around salad.

PICKLED BLACKBERRIES

  • 2 cups blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar

PREPARATION: Combine vinegar, water, peppercorns, vanilla bean, bay leaves, salt and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool until warm to the touch. Pour over blackberries and refrigerate for 24 hours.

BASIL PURÉE

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

PREPARATION: Quickly blanch basil leaves and put into an ice bath. Squeeze out the water. Roughly chop basil leaves and squeeze out remaining water. Put chopped basil, olive oil, and salt in a blender and purée until smooth and bright green.

SERRANO LEMON VINAIGRETTE

  • 4 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shallot, brunoises
  • 4 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION: Combine chiles, shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together until honey combines with the juice, slowly add olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Also try Mangrove Snapper and Buttermilk Pie recipes by Chef Jason Stocks.