Chili-Almond Watermelon atop Meyer Lemon Avocado Purée

Source: Erik Aplin, ICHI Sushi

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was made at CUESA’s Fifth Annual Summer Celebration on June 14, 2015.

This is a good flavor combination for an hors d’oeuvre, the beginning of a seasonal salad, or just for a fun snack. This chili-almond oil is truly what makes this dish. It can also be used for many other applications. It is quite special so I’ve been hesitant to share. The recipe makes for more than needed for the dish, so enjoy.

Marinated Watermelon

4 cups 1-inch-cubed watermelon
8 ounces mirin (sweet sake)
1 ounce shoyu (soy sauce)

Chili-Almond Oil

½ pound slivered or chopped almonds
1 fluid ounce finely diced shallot (2 tablespoons)
1 fluid ounce ground ginger (2 tablespoons)
1 fluid ounce ground garlic (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Korean chili pepper flake or crushed red pepper
16 fluid ounces oil (grapeseed, rice bran, vegetable, corn, or olive)

Meyer Lemon Avocado Purée

1 avocado
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice

Fresh herbs for garnish (shiso, mint, cilantro, or basil)


To make the watermelon: Marinate the watermelon in the mirin and shoyu for a few hours to penetrate the flavor. If you have access to a vacuum sealer, use only half of the marinade listed below.

To make the oil: Toast the almonds in a pan to release the oils. Add the shallot, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, and oil, and simmer until all the aromatics are cooked through, roughly 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure to not cook over too high of heat as to burn ingredients. Let cool and store.

To make the purée: You can roughly mash the avocado, but if you’re feeling fancy you can push the mushed avocado through a mesh strainer. The salt and lemon juice. The acid will help the avocado from oxidizing.

To plate: Remove the watermelon from marinade, and toss in a bowl with chili-almond oil. Let it sit until ready to plate, allowing the ingredients to mingle and to further penetrate the watermelon.

Place a dollop of avocado purée on your serving vessel and top with the marinated watermelon. Finish with fresh herbs.

Photo by Amanda Lynn Photography

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