This delightful summer dish is all at once sweet, savory, and spicy deliciousness. A blender creates a smooth puree with complex flavor, and some of the ingredients are reserved for a chunky topping. Crushed macadamia nuts finish the dish off, adding a bit of nutty crunchiness. Best of all is the ease of the recipe - aside from a bit of chopping to start, the entire dish comes together in about 5 minutes, and is served chilled.
For this recipe, I use crushed Aleppo chiles. I know this is pretty specific, but I have a spice vendor who provides. I like this powder because it is as much flavor as it is heat - in other words, the heat is not overpowering. An alternative would of course be to use a fresh chili of your choice, pureed in with the base.
Note - Try to find a seedless watermelon to save time. I happened upon this tiny watermelon at my local Asian market. I was amazed at the yield - the rind is so thin compared to a regular-sized watermelon that this was way more than enough to make 4 servings. In fact, this particular little guy was enough to make the most delicious Vegetarian Poke, with enough left over for a full batch of Gazpacho.
Ingredient partner dish: Many of the ingredients of this dish mirror those in Vegetarian Poke - a surprising poke dish that won't have you missing the fish one bit.
Yield: 4 Appetizer-Sized Servings
1 small cucumber, Persian or English work well
6 plum or roma tomatoes (adjust accordingly if using large or cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup of cilantro
1 lb watermelon
1 small zucchini
1/4 cup avocado oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small shallot
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bell pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Aleppo chili powder
A pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp macadamia nuts (crushed)
1 thinly sliced radish
Slice and set aside a small amount of cucumber, tomato, and cilantro for garnish.
In a blender, combine the watermelon, zucchini, avocado oil, red wine vinegar, shallot, garlic, bell pepper, lemon juice, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and the rest of the cucumber, tomato, and cilantro. Blend to desired consistency.
Chill for an hour and it's ready to go.
When serving, top with remaining cilantro, cucumber and tomato slices; radishes, and crushed macadamia nuts.