We at Public Storage love a good barbecue, especially to celebrate the Fourth of July, and especially if there are great sides. Some of us even think we’re masters at whipping up the quintessential accompaniments of summer.
There comes a time in every cook’s life, however, when he really wants to up his game, to do something different and better. For this, we turned to a true expert, Richard Hanna, head chef of Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Los Angeles. We asked him to hone in on a terrific Fourth of July barbecue side dish based on our favorite staple of summer: watermelon.
“Simple food that looks sexy is what makes a good barbecue,” he said.
His is truly one of the best and easiest dishes we’ve had, and it adheres to Hanna’s preference for simple recipes that are as handsome as they are tasty and that leave plenty of time for socializing with friends and family.
“It’s the camaraderie and friendships—the people that you have over is what’s important,” Hanna said.
Indeed. We wish you a summer of lazy afternoons spent with good friends, and the best Fourth of July barbecue or picnic ever—with the best watermelon salad!
RECIPE FOR CHEF HANNA’S WATERMELON SALAD
1 small watermelon, preferably seedless so it is easier to eat
Three basil leaves
1 cup – Feta or goat cheese
3 tbsp.—White balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp.—Champagne vinegar
¼ cup—Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp.—Freshly ground pepper
TO MAKE THE SALAD
Choose a ripe watermelon at the store by tapping until you find one that makes a hollow sound, like a drum.
Slice a small, seedless watermelon into half-inch-thick wedges.
Place the wedges fanned on a tray in rows, with a lot of the watermelon “flesh” exposed so it can take the dressing.
Instead of mixing the “dressing”, sprinkle the vinegars and oil onto the watermelon, one at a time.
Break apart the cheese into pea-sized chunks and sprinkle onto the watermelon
Sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
Stack the basil leaves, roll tightly and slice thinly into a “chiffonade,” the French name for ribbons of herbs.
Sprinkle the basil over the salad.
To eat, serve slices dressed with basil for garnish.
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by Ann Griffith