Watermelon with Fleur de Sel

The simplest and best dessert I know.

Extremely versatile, salt can balance flavor, tone down acidity, and highlight sweetness, especially that of the porous ruby fruit of watermelons. I use coarse sea salt, which contains essential minerals and has a gentle flavor, unlike refined table salt, which is bitter and almost completely lacking in minerals.–Peter Berley

LC Salty Sweet Surprise Note

As much as we find ourselves swooning over a wedge of watermelon and nothing else save for a stream of sticky juice dribbling down our chins, we’re also proponents of watermelon plus one. As in, watermelon plus a squeeze of lime. Watermelon plus a potent rub of gingerroot. Watermelon plus vodka, whether a shot taken as a chaser or a bottle harnessed as a sousing, er, dousing agent for the entire oblong melon. And watermelon plus a sprinkling of coarse, crunchy fleur de sel. This last one may be the simplest, most scintillating plus one we’ve tried, enhancing yet not obscuring the watery fruit’s inherent sweetness. A salty sweet surprise. Hello, summer.

Watermelon with Fleur de Sel Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 chilled watermelon, seedless or not, any color
  • Pinch coarse fleur de sel

Directions

  • 1. Slice a portion of the watermelon, rind and all, into 4 slices or wedges. Set the rest of it aside. (You’ll probably be back for more in a second.)
  • 2. Sprinkle each wedge with a scant pinch of the fleur de sel.
  • 3. Serve immediately. Go back for seconds.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice

I’m perhaps not the most impartial person to ask, as I swoon over watermelon plain as well as in tandem with each of the aforementioned “plus ones.” Still, my favorite accompaniment to watermelon has long been napkins—lots and lots of napkins. But the sweet saltiness of fleur de sel sprinkled on top really knocked my flip-flops off. This approach couldn’t be easier, yet has its own sort of elegance about it. And it’s really something to see the expression on other peoples’ faces when you set out a platter of this simple yet stunning summeriness. It’s a casual yet sorta sophisticated take on a summer classic. Well, as sophisticated as drippy, juicy watermelon can aspire to be.


Comments
Comments
  1. Susan says:

    I grew up on salted melon..any kind of melon. My father insisted that all melons needed salt to be truly pushed to their peak of flavor. I never questioned that wisdom. I was quite surprised when I’d get looks of puzzlement from almost everyone who took notice of my preference. I had no idea it wasn’t standard practice! I’ve since eaten it without salt when I have had no choice, but it’s not nearly as mouth watering. I’m sure fleur de sel is fine, too! It might be an easier sell, being it’s considered a gourmet item, to those who otherwise might think salting melon…odd.

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Susan, I remember the first time I saw someone putting salt on their cantaloupe. I thought, what are you doing, are you crazy? Then I tasted it. Salty, sweet, sublime. Bring on the shaker!

      • Allison Parker says:

        OK, have to chime in on this one. First, definitely want to give the salted watermelon a try. Anything that will knock Renee’s flip-flops off has to be some kind of wonderful.

        Next, while we’re sharing family stories about melon and salt-and-peppering various fruits, my paternal grandfather, who was from Georgia and lived much of his life in Alabama, put pepper on cantaloupe. My father just reminded me of that the other day. I never tried it, and yet it makes sense to me if I think about how I love cantaloupe with prosciutto–pepper on that seems normal.

        Salt on grapefruit sounds not bad either. There, though, I only think of my grandmother, who would drown the grapefruits from her own garden with multiple spoonfuls of sugar—ack! I’ve eaten it plain forever, but love everything acidic and tart.

        Anyway, watermelon with fleur de sel. I see it in my weekend, beckoning.

        • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

          Enjoy the watermelon this weekend Allison. I have been sitting back and wondering if anyone out there put pepper on their cantaloupe, that was my dad’s favorite way to eat it and of course if dad ate it that way so would I.

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      I agree with you about the fleur de sel being an easier sell, Susan! I am one of those who still throws a sidelong glance at any salted fruit–even tomatoes–but I’ve been thinking about the watermelon, and I suspect that I might find the little crunchy salty bits scattered here and there to be much nicer than regular old table salt. I’ll have to give it a try.

      • Susan says:

        Funny you should mention tomatoes with no salt. I completely agree! I do not care for salt on tomatoes at all. Pepper…lots of fresh, course ground pepper. …but sweet Texas Ruby Red grapefruit? Salt.

        • Lindsay Myers says:

          Ooh, now *that* I could happily eat without question! Must be something about the slight bitterness of citrus that sounds good to me…I do love salt and lime. Isn’t it funny how our tastes develop? Now, of course, I’m longing for tomato season, too!

  2. mehrunnisa says:

    my favourite way to watermelon! it is how my father taught me. in pakistan it is himalayan pink salt that we use but here in london i use maldon. watermelon with salt is such a wonderful childhood memory i wrote a food story on my blog about it.

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