Few foods are as synonymous with a particular season as watermelon is with summer. For many people, a backyard barbecue or picnic in the park is not complete without a refreshing slice of fresh watermelon.
But while watermelon is most often associated with dessert at warm weather soirees, this beloved fruit is much more versatile than that. For example, watermelon can be used to make a refreshing beverage for guests of your next outdoor get-together. Easy to prepare and ideal on warm afternoons and evenings, the following recipe for "Pressed Watermelon With Basil Water" from Brian Peterson-Campbell's "Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy, Homemade Thirst Quenchers" (Harvard Common Press) is sure to cool down your guests.
Pressed Watermelon With Basil Water
Makes 6 servings
4 cups watermelon
6 to 8 large basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 cups chilled still water
Pinch of sea salt
1. Combine the watermelon chunks and basil in a colander placed over a large bowl. Using a metal ladle or spoon, press the watermelon to extract as much juice as possible (the remaining pulp should be fairly dry).
2. Season the juice with the sea salt and vinegar and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Add the water, stir and serve.
Food pairings: Grill chicken or fish, feta and tomato salad, shortbread cookies
Chef's tip: Use yellow watermelon for an unexpected twist.