Celebrate Watermelon Season With These Local Watermelon Dishes
Spending any time outside in the summer heat of Houston sounds like a chore, but even the most sweaty, sticky afternoon can be turned around with a cool, refreshing slice of watermelon.
Photo by Rita Castre Try the unique watermelon gazpacho at Latin Bites for a taste of the seasonal fruit.
The Texas-grown fruit is at its peak right now, and individuals and restaurants alike are scooping up melons and making a little magic with the sweet, thirst-quenching red flesh. If you want watermelon in your own backyard, go pick one up from any grocery store (and maybe turn it into a vodka melon using these handy instructions). If you want to go out for all your melon needs, though, look no further. We've scoured local restaurant menus to bring you the best watermelon dishes from around town.
Get 'em while the getting's good!
Every year around this time, restaurants trot out their versions of watermelon gazpacho, a Spanish soup usually made with raw tomatoes and served cold. It can be difficult to make a good watermelon gazpacho; it's often too sweet or the flavor of the watermelon gets lost in the other ingredients. Ninfa's makes an excellent gazpacho de sandia garnished with poached jumbo shrimp, crunchy taro root chips and slices of pineapple and jicama. At Latin Bites, chef Castre is also serving up watermelon gazpacho blended with just a hint of avocado and basil. The soup, made from produce from local farms, is garnished with compressed watermelon, dehydrated broccoli, caramelized nuts, avocado and carrot purée for a dish almost too pretty to eat. For those seeking something a little more substantial than soup or salad, check out Radical Eats's "Watermelon Grouper," a hearty filet of line-caught fish served with a side of watermelon gazpacho.
Photo courtesy Lucille's Simple summer perfection in the watermelon salad at Lucille's.
Watermelon salads are probably the easiest and most popular dish to take advantage of watermelon season. Many restaurants make a variation on the salad (often with spinach and some sort of mild white cheese), but Hugo's takes it a step further by adding avocado, sliced purple onions, cucumbers, radishes, cotija cheese and lime juice. The combined effect is super crisp and refreshing, and the cheese adds some creaminess to the mix. At RDG + Bar Annie, the watermelon salad gets upgraded with the addition of shrimp, mint, basil and a unique Thai curry dressing. One of the simpler watermelon salads in town is also one of the best. At Lucille's, the chefs mix baby arugula with red onions, crushed pistachios and creamy, tangy feta cheese.
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