Friday, July 25, 2008

29. Watermelon Rind Chutney (p. 905)

For me, this recipe was all about the saying, "waste not, want not." Not only did this recipe make use of the rinds from my Watermelon Gazpacho, it also was an opportunity to get another recipe under my belt.

The recipe is pretty easy. First, cut the rind into two-inch-wide strips, peel off the outer green skin with a vegetable peeler, and remove any remaining pink flesh so that you're just left with the white part of the rind. Then cut the rinds into 1/2 inch dice and combine them with cider vinegar, water, sugar, minced hot pepper (I used pickled serranos, because fresh chilies are still suspect), minced garlic, crushed black peppercorns, and an obscene amount of minced fresh ginger. Simmer it for about an hour until the rind is tender and the liquid is syrupy. If I were to make this again, I might simmer it a bit longer, because it ended up being thinner than I wanted it to be, even after it cooled.

The dominant flavor in this chutney is ginger, but the undertones of black pepper, cider vinegar and garlic still come though, and after each bite, you're left with a pleasant amount of heat from the chili. The one thing that you don't get from this chutney is any watermelon flavor. The rind is a totally blank slate that absorbs the other flavors in the chutney.

The Book suggests making little canapes of crackers and cream cheese topped with a little bit of chutney. What a great treat. I also enjoyed the chutney on sandwiches of grilled chicken and baby spinach for my brown-bag lunches all week. Tasty! This recipe was a pleasant surprise.

The recipe yields three cups, and even though it keeps for up to a month in the fridge, that's a whole lot of chutney, so I halved the recipe.

Date Cooked: July 20, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: B+

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