Watermelon-Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon. So refreshing in hottest humidity of summer. Recently at Jean-Georges’ Nougatine┬árestaurant had the most sinfully simple salad. Cubes of seedless watermelon with dollops of whipped goat cheese, drizzled with virgin olive oil and finished with cracked white pepper. Superb.

Jean-Georges prefers white to black pepper in most things.

Note: Don’t look up whipped goat cheese recipes. Just whisk softened goat cheese by itself. Don’t add cream cheese or anything else.

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Watermelon Laced Gazpacho

It’s that time of year again. Chilled sipping soups. Watermelon and cucumbers balance the acid for this twist on a classic.

6-8 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalape├▒o pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put equal parts bread and above ingredients in stages into a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance. Adjust as needed. Pour each stage into a pitcher. Serve either in small glasses to sip or in bowls with chunks of veggies, onions and parsley to garnish.