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Summer Watermelon Ricotta Salad + Sweetening Tip

Watermelon is having its Emma Stone moment -- it's all over the beauty news, and proves itself even an smarter choice than we already thought it was.
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summer watermelon ricotta salad

Summer watermelon ricotta salad at Lil' Baci Taverna

Watermelon is having its Jessica Chastain moment. Or Michael Fassbender moment. Or let's go with The Amazing Spiderman star Emma Stone, who's been lighting up red carpet after red carpet, and made geeky hearts squeal with her she's-got-brains declaration that she'd love to be a copy editor. Watermelon is having its Emma Stone moment.

And watermelon's moment is made even sweeter by revelations that it's actually much more than just water in loosely-packed fruit form. Fibre- and antioxidant-rich, watermelon is making beauty-food headlines for its lycopene content, which rivals that of the tomato. (Among other things, lycopene is noted for its ability to help skin recover from sun exposure.) That's not all -- mentions a good-for-your-sex-life tidbit you'll want to know about, too.

A few weeks back, beautygeek Liza Herz, Karen Kwan of Health&Swellness and I enjoyed a delicious meal at Lil' Baci Taverna, just north of Davisville on Yonge St. in Toronto. One of the dishes we can't stop talking about is this Watermelon with Grated Ricotta Salata (shown above) -- and it's beyond refreshingly perfect in this soupy weather. Here's the recipe, from Chef Larry Santos.

Lil' Baci Taverna's Watermelon with Grated Ricotta Salata

500 g watermelon
75 g grated ricotta salata
several sprigs of fresh mint leaves
extra-virgin olive oil
25-year-old balsamic
kosher salt
slightly roasted black peppercorn

Vacuum-pack the watermelon and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 2 days.* (This step can be omitted if needed but increases the sweetness of the watermelon.)

Slice watermelon into cubes and place on platter. Add several sprigs of mint leaves on and in between sliced watermelon. Sprinkle with ricotta salata. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Serves 2-3 as a side dish

Preparation time 10 minutes plus 1 hour.

Doesn't that sound lovely for dinner sometime this week? Will you invite us over when you make it?

*And did you catch the tip about how to make watermelon swooningly sweet without adding sugar??

More watermelon recipes you'll enjoy: watermelon + feta + black olives salad; watermelon cocktail; watermelon + lime + mint drink. Lil' Baci Taverna is made in Canada by Chef Larry Santos and Canadian expat Mark Bacci.