Weirdo Grilled Watermelon “Pizza”

August 12, 2015



Hi, Readers! I’m sad to report that Miss M. and I caught an icky little stomach virus early in the week. Stomach viruses in the summer? Assholery of the first water. Couldn’t the dang thing wait a week and come when school first begins, like it does every year? Hmph.

I had a feeling something was amiss Sunday night, when I didn’t have any interest in dinner. I’m always interested in dinner.  I wasn’t hungry the the next morning, either. I choked down half a slice of toast and called it good. Then Miss M. demanded breakfast, ate like a linebacker, promptly turned a strange shade of yellow and ran into the bathroom.

“It’s okay, Mommy,” she said a few minutes later. “I puked in the sink.”

The sink? Whaaa? What child makes it into the bathroom but then hurls in the freaking sink? I was not pleased, and I was even less pleased when I tried to clean it up and then had to take a time out for my own personal business. It’s been a rough few days around here.

But let’s talk about the weekend before the vomit extravaganza, shall we?

It was crazy busy with old friends and an outdoor street festival and lunch with Mama and Daddy, which we haven’t done in almost a month because, well, summer=nuts. It was lovely to see them, and Daddy whooped some Minx butt at ping-pong. He brought the little clowns two kinds of chocolate ice cream, though, so he was forgiven. We poured cold drinks, fired up the grill and I tried out two new recipes on my parental guinea pigs.

Usually, I limit myself to one new recipe when I host Sunday lunch, but honestly, I don’t think you’re ever supposed to try any new recipe when you have guests over. Isn’t that a hard-clad entertaining rule? Never cook a new recipe for guests? “Cook what you know,” they tell us.

Well, pfft. I had a couple of interesting-looking recipes burning a hole in my apron pocket, so I just went ahead and made them. Besides, Mama and Daddy are forgiving souls. I had a feeling they’d like the summer tomato gratin (because summer tomatoes!) so I didn’t fret too much over that one, but the one I’m sharing today gave me pause.

Cooking Light magazine published a recipe this summer for Grilled Watermelon Pizza, which isn’t really a pizza at all but an appetizer/salad. You cut the watermelon into a thick center slice, grill it briefly, and then cut it into “pizza wedges, scattering strange things like pecans and blue cheese and marinated red onion over it. Then you eat it like a pizza–well, like a KID eating a pizza, because the crust/rind gets left behind.

Admit it. Right now you’re thinking: “Sounds fuckin’ weird, Kitch.”

Which is what I thought, too! And you know what happens when I think a recipe is totally weirdo…

I have to  make it.

I feel compelled to make it because I’m very, very drawn to weirdo.

So, I made it. I decided to make it as one of our appetizer options for lunch, because I wasn’t sure if it would fly as a salad. I set out lots of normal, lovely things like bruschetta with tomatoes, basil and ricotta; beautiful artisan cheeses and salami; addictive bowls of Kettle Chips. And then, quick as a wink, I sneaked the platter of watermelon pizza onto the counter.

“The fuck?” my husband said, eyeing the platter.

“It’s like a salad, honey,” I said brightly. “But it’s in these little fun hand-held wedges.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Is that blue cheese?”


“On watermelon. With…is that red onion?”

“Uh-huh, and pecans and basil, too!” I looked at his face. Oh dear.

“You gotta admit, that’s different, all right,” Daddy said, eyeing the platter a little warily.

It was becoming increasingly apparent to me that I was gonna have to hard-sell this thing.

“Guys, guys. It’s a recipe from Cooking Light magazine. They know what they’re doing over there. I mean, that’s a major publication. They even say that they know it sounds like an unlikely combination, but ‘it works.'”

They still stared at the platter like it had a giant turd on it.

“Daddy,” I said, picking up a slice and putting it in front of him. “You love blue cheese. Just give it a try? It’s Maytag.”

I think it was the “Maytag” bit that did it, but Daddy took a bite. His eyes bugged a little and he chewed for a bit, then swallowed.

“Well?” I asked.

“It’s weird, but not in a bad way,” Daddy said. “It takes a little getting used to, but I think it does work. Somehow.”

Mama went in next. “Huh,” she said. “The grill makes the watermelon less sweet, almost savory.”

I knew this, because before anyone arrived for lunch, I’d sneaked a slice as a pre-emptive strike. I wasn’t going to serve something GOD-awful. I nudged my husband. “Try it.”

“Ugh,” he said. “Well, I’m always nagging Miss M. to try new things, so I’d better be a role model.” He took a bite.

He really, really didn’t like it. I could tell by his face. In true Big Guy fashion, though, he didn’t spit it out. He took it like a man and even smiled a little weakly over the table at me.

I patted his hand gently. “Good job, honey. How about some cheese and salami?”


Sometimes, a recipe is just a little too weird for people’s tastes. This one definitely fit into that category. Nobody outright didn’t like it except for my husband, but I think I speak for us all that we couldn’t quite get over the strange factor that’s going on with this dish.

Still, I’m going to publish the recipe, because it’s good fun. And there are lots of adventurous eaters out there who I think will like the contrast of hot/cold, sharp/sweet, funky/herby. If you have a late-summer cookout, it would be amusing to serve this up and see who dares to try it. You could double-dog the pickiest eater at the barbeque and have wicked entertainment watching what ensues.

And no, I don’t think the watermelon concoction caused the stomach distress; in fact, I know so. Because Miss M. wouldn’t touch that platter of weirdness with a ten-foot pole.





Grilled Watermelon “Pizza”

serves 4-8 (4 as a side dish, 8 as an appetizer)

slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

1/2 to 1 cup red onion (adjust as your preference), sliced thinly

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 (3/4-inch-thick) slice seedless watermelon (from a 9-inch diameter watermelon)

1 ounce creamy blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons small basil leaves or torn large basil leaves


Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat.

Combine onion slices, vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl; let stand 15 minutes or until onion is softened, tossing occasionally.

Drain off 2 teaspoons of the brining liquid from the onions and combine with 2 teaspoons olive oil, whisking to blend. Drain onion and discard remaining liquid.

Brush olive oil over both sides of the watermelon. Grill watermelon 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear. Place watermelon on a serving platter. Top watermelon with pickled onions, blue cheese, pecans and basil. Cut into 8 wedges.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

KitschenBitsch August 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

Makes total sense! Watermelon, feta, and red onion are used together in salad. Somehow, this doesn’t seem weird to me at all — just an easy serving method. :)


Dana Talusani August 13, 2015 at 11:38 am


In all honesty, it wasn’t THAT weird, but grilling the watermelon made it kind of savory tasting, and I think I’d have liked it better with more of a sweetness to it. That said, I forgot to clean our grill before I threw the watermelon on, so maybe it was still a little burger-flavored. Oops!


elizabeth August 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Hey–Ariane won the Today Show challenge on Top Chef season 5 with a watermelon/tomato salad, so this isn’t that off-kilter. It’s also better than those stupid watermelon “cakes” that are OMG SO HEALTHY but I would be so angry to slice into them because I’m that person who doesn’t like watermelon. :)

That said, if I did like watermelon I’d probably give this a try because while there is a lot going on, it could be really good…provided you like watermelon.


Annette August 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Let’s see the tomato gratin recipe!


Dana Talusani August 13, 2015 at 11:39 am


It’s coming! It was delicious.


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