BY CHEF COLEMAN TEITELBAUM, corporate chef, SubZero Group East
Lamb chops are one of my family’s favorite items to grill or broil and I’m not (too) ashamed to admit that when I was a kid, I loved having them with mint jelly. About 20 years ago while planning a menu, I was remembering those lamb chops and I realized it wasn’t the mint jelly I loved as much as the jelly – the sweet with the salty broiled chops. Not wanting to lose the mint or the sweet, but not wanting a mint sauce, I started playing with a salsa idea. I have no idea how I made it back then, but here’s how I make it today.
This salsa is one of my absolute favorite summer accompaniments. It goes great with bold salty foods like lamb or grilled fish and a glass of cold crisp rosé. Easily turned into a stand-alone salad (see notes) it is a great twist to take to a picnic or to brighten up your dinner plate. The colors and flavors should really pop. Even the red onion takes on an unexpected bright pink when soaked in the vinegar.
I served it the night this was written with grilled black cod (Wolf charbroiler), coconut/garlic rice (Wolf Convection Steam Oven) and sautéed broccoli greens with onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes (Wolf range burners).
Minted Watermelon Salsa
4C diced watermelon
3/4C fine diced red onion (about ½ a small/med onion)
1/2C red wine vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1 jalapeno, fine diced
1 ear of corn, shucked
1/2C diced cucumber (diced about the size or corn kernels, seeds removed)
1/2C diced orange pepper (diced about the size or corn kernels)
1C loosely packed mint leaves
Preheat your char-broiler or gill.
Dice the red onion and place in a small bowl. Pour the red wine vinegar over the red onions to let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Set aside.
Place the ear of corn in the center of the charbroiler and allow the corn to grill until it is nicely roasted (not burned). Turn the corn three times to grill all sides. Set aside to cool.
Zest the lime and half of the lemon. Finely mince the zests and set aside (they can be mixed).
Juice the lemon and lime keeping the juices separate.
Slice and dice the watermelon, scallion, jalapeno, cucumber and orange pepper as described above.
Stack some of the mint leaves together neatly, same side up, pointed in the same direction. Slowly, with a sharp knife, slice the mint as thinly as possible. There should be about ½ of mint after it is processed.
Trim the thicker end of the ear of corn so it is a nice, flat surface. Stand the corn up on this end and shave the kernels off. They will run all over the counter; this can be done in a 9x13 dish to help contain them (put a towel under the corn) or even in a bundt cake pan with the corn propped up on the center opening. If a grill isn’t available, the ear can be broiled or the kernels can be shaved off raw, tossed in a little olive oil and sautéed.
Drain the onions reserving the vinegar.
In a large mixing bowl, gently toss all of the diced veggies, watermelon, mint, zests, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and ½ of the lemon and lime juices. Let sit five minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add juices and S&P as needed.