A week or so ago, we were excited to pick up Scraps, Wilt + Weeds: Turning Waste into Plenty, from the public library. It’s written by Mads Refslund, and, we figured that if we could get one or two ideas about how to use some food scraps in a novel way, well, it would be worth the time it takes to go through the book. Given all the food that’s thrown away in the United States (60 million tons or $160 billion dollars worth each year, according to The Atlantic), we figured that if we could keep some more food out of the waste stream, we’d do it.
Well, as it turned out, we already do quite a number of the things recommended: make vegetable stock frorm peelings and other trimmings, use up wilting fruits by baking, roasting, or cooking, understanding that just because produce is blemished or misshapen doesn’t mean it has gone bad or is inedible, and that expiration dates are not exact. So, we were pretty happy with an assessment of what we do to make sure food isn’t wasted.
Plus, we found the idea of making a Watermelon Vinaigrette for salads. The original recipe suggested using overripe melon and made a larger quantity; we scaled it back a bit and used a piece of watermelon that was perfect, but the idea is the same.
Really, the only one of the ingredients to watch is the olive oil. Many olive oils labeled extra-virgin aren’t really extra-virgin. The best way to tell is to taste the oil. Yep, just straight, perhaps a half a teaspoon. It should taste fresh, perhaps grassy, perhaps spicy, and it might even make you cough, but it should have flavor. If not, it’s not extra-virgin olive oil.
Procedure in detail:
Crush watermelon. How to get a tablespoon of watermelon? Well, we just used a measuring spoon as a scoop and scooped out a piece of melon. We went for the sweet center portion of the melon, which has the most flavor. Place the melon in a small bowl and crush it with a fork, or use the end of a whisk to break it apart. It’s okay if it’s slightly chunky and it’s okay if you crush it smooth. Either will work.
Whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Try to keep whisking until the oil and vinegar emulsifies and the vinaigrette thickens — that bit of mustard helps — but, if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. Just get everything well mixed.
Use immediately. Once whisked, pour over your prepared salad. If you need to wait, whisk it again right before serving.
This was just okay. Watermelon doesn’t seem to have enough flavor to stand up to a salad; it ends up being overpowered, at least by the salads we’d made with slightly bitter romaine lettuce, carrots, and a mix of strawberries and blueberries. But, it might work on something like an iceberg lettuce salad, so keep it in mind. We’ll say three stars.