Spicy Watermelon, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad

When people think “California summer”, they think roller-blades, sun block, smooth, brown tans and palm trees in the breeze. Unfortunately, the truth of my California summer is quite the opposite. San Francisco’s June, July and most of August is usually comprised of windy, over-cast and foggy, chilly days who turn into damp, cold-ass nights. These last few days, though, have been a joy of true summer: mid-80’s, sunny and humid.

And so, I needed something appropriate…. It’s way too hot to even use the microwave – I needed something that is creative and cools me down from the inside out?

I wracked my brain – what would be tasty and refreshing? Cold soup, of course, but I’ve already done the Avocado-Cucumber soup (which, by the way, is intimidatingly perfect for this weather) and I don’t really like tomatoes, sotraditional gazpacho is out. And then, there it was, in the middle of the produce aisle: round, smooth and green; the very reason God himself invented the hot day: Watermelon.

A quick mental list followed:

    Chilled Watermelon Soup with Basil and Champagne
    Martinis with Watermelon Ice
    Watermelon Salsa
    Pickled Watermelon Rind
    Spicy Watermelon Salad
    Spicy Watermelon and Arugula Salad

      2/3 C. cubed fresh watermelon
      2/3 C. arugula greens
      2T soft herbed goat cheese

      1t flavored rice vinegar
      1.5T extra virgin olive oil
      3/4t mild chili oil
      1t juice fresh from over-ripe tomato
      pinch of salt
      twist of fresh ground black pepper
      teeny-tiny pinch of fleur de sel (French grey salt)

      1. Put all vinaigrette ingredients into a bowl and whisk vigorously
      2. Put all dry salad ingredients into bowl
      3. Pour vinaigrette slowly over the watermelon, arugula and cheese (in small batches, making sure not to over dress)
      4. Toss salad with your hands, gently creaming the cheese
      5. Eat it!

    The rest of the recipes for the dishes in the watermelon list above will be posted soon, as well.