RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Chef: Anthony Mazzotta
1 small seedless watermelon
2 slices pancetta, sliced as thin as possible
(the deli guy can make this happen)
1 oz white sesame seeds
1 T black sesame seeds
drizzle balsamic vinegar
1 bunch watercress
4 oz Vermont goat cheese
fresh ground pepper
fleur de sel
1. Put pancetta into a 350 degree oven and cook it until it's crisp and rendered of most of it's fat (treat it like you're cooking bacon). Remove from oven and set on paper towels to remove grease. Set aside.
2. Cut watermelon in half, wrap one half and refrigerate for another time. Skin the remaining half and slice into various sizes and shapes (wedges, rounds, squares, etc) -- the nicer the cuts, the nicer the presentation.
3. Lightly toast white sesame seeds until golden. Toast black sesame seeds but be careful not to burn since their color is also black! Reserve one tablespoon of white seeds and mix the rest with the black seeds.
4. Reduce balsamic vinegar in pan to a syrup consistency, being very careful not to burn. Cabernet or sherry vinegar can be substituted if preferred. Chill rapidly to room temperature.
5. Put white sesame seeds in blender and blend on high speed to puree. Slowly drizzle in EVOO. Blend on high until oil is hot. Set aside and cool.
6. Mix sesame oil with balsamic reduction. Approximately four parts oil to one part vinegar reduction. Set aside.
7. In large mixing bowl dress watermelon with the sesame vinaigrette. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently, being careful not to bruise and damage the nicely cut watermelon.
8. Arrange watermelon on chilled plates. In the same bowl toss watercress leaves with residual vinaigrette adding more salt, pepper and vinaigrette to taste.
9. Arrange leaves on and around each plate. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. Arrange crispy pancetta on plate. Drizzle with more vinaigrette and finish with fleur de sel.