Cherries and watermelon have an affinity that creates a tasty and colorful combination. But it’s the flavors in the accompanying syrup that make this version of the dual-fruit salad memorable. It’s even good enough to become a summery dessert—just top each serving with a scoop of lemon sorbet.
(Cook’s Note #1: Mid-recipe you’ll need to allow about ½ hour for the hot syrup to cool, so plan that into your timing.)
(Cook’s Note #2: This is a dish best eaten at one sitting. If the watermelon pieces sit too long in the syrup they’ll become soggy.)
½ pound sweet cherries
1 seedless watermelon (¾ pound-to-1 pound)
A handful of fresh mint leaves for spreading just before serving (about ¼ cup) – (plus mint sprigs for syrup)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
4 mint sprigs – (plus mint leaves for salad)
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
¼ cup water
Pit the cherries by hand or with a cherry pitter, cutting each cherry in half. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, lime juice, mint sprigs, and vanilla. Stir in ¼ cup water.
Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until all the sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Remove and discard the heated mint.
Add the pitted cherries to the hot syrup and stir to combine. Set aside for about 30 minutes to cool and let the flavors blend.
Use a large sharp knife to cut open the watermelon. Cut the flesh into large yet bite-sized pieces.
When ready to serve, place the watermelon pieces on a serving platter and sprinkle half the fresh mint leaves over them. Spoon the cherries and syrup over the watermelon pieces. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.
–Adapted from Taste.com.au, which calls itself Australia’s #1 food site.
Recipe tested by Ellen Ficklen; email questions to email@example.com