Wednesday, July 7, 2010

watermelon and lemon confit

we just returned from an exploration
okay, a road trip 
exploring the South
where i tasted my fair share of good things
and probably your share too
one late evening in new orleans 
hubster and i 
found ourselves hungry 
and anxious to try alligator
after a quick search on his phone
hubster found
which is not famous for alligator
but serves it none-the-less
but this story is not about alligator
it is about a last minute decision
to try the ribs
which was quite possibly
the best ordering decision
 i have made in a very long time
cochon might just have
 the best ribs i have ever tasted
no lie
the sauce is a secret
but i did buy a few bottles for my personal eating pleasure
now here is where the watermelon comes in
on top of the lightly sauced, wood-fired ribs
was a watermelon rind pickle-slash-preserve
i didn't like it
too heavy on the star anise 
(or something...not quite sure)
but i loved the idea 
of a watermelon pickle-slash-preserve on my ribs
so i set out this morning to make a watermelon rind confit
that will go just as nicely on my wood-fired pork ribs
as it will on my morning scone
here's the other thing
it is pretty too!
Watermelon Rind and Lemon Confit
(printable recipe)
this recipe requires some time
4 cups watermelon rind--cubed
1/2 cup kosher salt
peel the rind and cut into dice.  place in a large bowl and cover with cool water. add 1/2 cup kosher salt and let sit overnight (or 8 hours) soaking. drain in colander and discard salt water.

8 cups water
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf.
7 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 knob (about 1" ginger)
place drained watermelon rind in large pot and cover with 8 cups water.  add vanilla, lemons, bay leaf, cardamom pods, and ginger. bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until the watermelon rind begins to soften.  drain into a colander reserving 2 cups of the liquid.  remove lemon seeds, cardamom pods, ginger and bay leaf.

2 cups reserved water
drained watermelon rind and lemon
2 Tbs marachino cherry juice (for color--optional)
2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 1/2 cups sugar
place all in the same large pot and simmer until the watermelon and lemon rind are clear and candied, and sugar syrup is quite thick (like corn syrup).  this can take several hours on low. do not let the sugar caramelize.  place in jars and process as if canning jam or keep in refrigerator for several weeks.

I will use mine with meats as well as on panna cotta, simple lemon cake and lemon ricotta pancakes.  I also intend on giving small jars of this as gifts this winter--summer need not end!


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