Try dipping into this refreshing watermelon salsa

This dish is bursting with flavour and is a delicious starter or snack with tortilla chips

This salsa is perfect to serve with a big bowl of tortilla chips and will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

This salsa is perfect to serve with a big bowl of tortilla chips and will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

 

Enveloped in this heatwave our country has changed. We’re all talk about ice cubes, picnic food, beach snacks and barbecues. I keep cutlery in the car for whenever we’re out and about and need to stop and eat. This could be strawberries from a roadside stall, bringing roast chicken from the market to the beach and eating it in crusty bread rolls slathered with butter or simply cutting up an apple at the playground.

Our kids are having a sunsoaked summer to remember with day trips, camping and afternoons at the beach. Food is not high on their list of priorities. Most of the time they don’t really feel hungry or they’re just in the mood for sociable food that they can eat sitting on a picnic blanket or paddling in the water. I’m making plenty of smoothies with frozen fruit and berries. This watermelon salsa is another great way to eat hydrating food. It’s bursting with flavour and is delicious as a starter or snack with tortilla chips. It’s also perfect with grilled meat or tuna.

Watermelon is fantastic at absorbing other flavours. The lime juice and coriander bring sour citrus and freshness while the mango is sweet and musky. I always try to buy organic when it comes to fruit with a high water content. Watermelons are one such fruit but I was able to find small organic ones bursting with flavour from Organic Republic in Cork. I’ve hollowed out the melon half and used it as a bowl for a fun presentation.

This is such a pretty dish to serve at a family get together or barbecue. It’s very easy to make and is a real talking point. Try not to buy a huge watermelon as it is probably pale and quite diluted inside. If you can only get a large one then juice the rest of the melon, it’s incredibly refreshing. Or use to make a classic salad of cubed melon with fresh mint leaves, crumbled salty feta and a drizzle of olive oil. The rinds can be pickled in a brine solution with a few chillies thrown in and enjoyed at a later stage as part of a cheeseboard, it tastes really great with goat’s cheese.

Poke bowls were last summer’s hot food trend, images of rice-filled bowls topped with raw fish seemed to be everywhere I looked. Long popular in Hawaii, traditionally as a way for fishermen to eat the offcuts of their catch,  it’s refreshing food at it’s best with plenty of savoury lightness and nourishment. The perfect alternative for vegans or vegetarians is to marinade watermelon cubes in a umami-rich sauce of sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, rice vinegar and a little grated fresh ginger. It tastes great with cantaloupe melons too.

Leave the melon to marinade in the sauce for a few hours or overnight if possible before serving over rice with finely sliced spring onions and some toasted sesame seeds. Add nori flakes for a real taste of the sea. It really is so good and simple to make. Add a few slices of buttery avocado, crispy fried onion or some chilli sauce to make it even more authentic.

Watermelon salsa: Serves 4-6
Ingredients

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
200g watermelon, diced
½ red onion, finely diced
½ tbsp finely chopped jalapenos
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Juice of 1 lime 2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch sea salt
To serve: tortilla chips  

Mix everything together gently and leave to marinade for at least 20 minutes before presentation. Perfect to serve with a big bowl of tortilla chips. This salsa will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

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