Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers

· fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime, jalapeños ·

August 9, 2016 30 Comments

Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers #EatMoreWatermelon

Watermelon season in Southern Ontario is short and sweet, as the seeds need warm soil to get started and the plants need a hot and long growing season. In my first year of gardening I was super excited about trying all the weird and wonderful heirloom varieties of watermelons (there are more than I ever imaged), but I couldn’t grow my seedlings beyond a few inches. I see others growing watermelons in my area, but I have yet to have them thrive in my garden and am super thankful for the delicious watermelons at the markets and grocery stores. This summer has been especially hot and dry and I can’t seem to get enough water, so watermelon (at ~92% water) has been a very welcome source of hydration.

watermelon-1

My mom is the queen of fruit shopping, always summoning the sweetest and juiciest specimens into her cart. When you ask for her secrets, she gives a few practical tips, but ultimately seems to rely on a mysterious connection with the fruit, an ability to pick out those that are “making eye contact with her”.

Unfortunately I don’t often get to do grocery shopping with my mom and when I stand in front of a large pile of identical-looking watermelons, they avoid my gaze at all costs. Not a wink or glance of encouragement come my direction, so I have to rely on my physical senses to figure out which one to bring home. Here are a couple of tips:

1) Look for a really firm watermelon. Before you start picking them up, feel them over, pressing your fingers into the rind, without damaging the watermelon, of course, to make sure that it’s firm, crisp, and fresh.

2) The watermelon should be symmetrical without any dents or blemishes and have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground, a sign that it was ripened in the sun.

3) Lift it up to make sure that it feels heavy for its size. You’ll often see people tapping the watermelon, listening to the sounds and feeling the vibrations. To be honest, I have yet to master this technique, but my mom says that there are indeed subtle differences in how good watermelons sound and feel, and I have seen grocery clerks do it as well when I ask them for help. So maybe just start by paying attention and seeing if you can spot a correlation between good-tasting watermelons and how they feel and sound.

4) Don’t be afraid to ask others! I always find that farmers at the market and grocery store clerks are happy to share their tips and point you in the direction of a sweet and ripe watermelon.

Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers with fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime and jalapeños! #EatMoreWatermelon

Since I’ve been posting a lot of sweets, I knew that I wanted to make today’s recipe savoury. Like grilled pineapple and peaches, grilled watermelon is a nice surprise and is really delicious! You don’t want to cook it thoroughly, but a little bit of heat and a few gentle kisses from the grill bring out a really interesting sweet and smoky flavour. Like feta, halloumi is BFFs with watermelon! Its briny flavour pairs really well with sweet and juicy watermelon and it’s also a perfect candidate for the grill, as it has a relatively high smoke point and won’t melt all over your BBQ (unless it’s too hot). I’ve found that there’s a huge range in the flavour and salinity of halloumi out there, and that artisanal brands (often found at the farmer’s market) are a lot better than the supermarket varieties that I’ve tried. Try to source a traditional goat’s or sheep’s milk halloumi (or a blend, which is common), as the cow’s milk version lacks the distinctive halloumi flavour. The watermelon and halloumi flavours really come through in these skewers, so they’ll only be as good as the ingredients you start with.

Check out watermelon.org for many more creative and interesting ways to enjoy watermelon this summer!

Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers with fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime and jalapeños! #EatMoreWatermelonWatermelon and Halloumi Skewers with fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime and jalapeños! #EatMoreWatermelon

Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers

Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Skewers

Ingredients

  • 1lb watermelon cubes (~16 1" cubes) (seedless or seeds removed)
  • 1lb halloumi, cubed (~12 1" cubes)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • a handful of fresh mixed herbs and flowers (I used mint, a few different types of basil, and anise hyssop), for garnish
  • toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • a few jalapno slices, for garnish
  • flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium/high heat and oil the grates.
  2. Starting with watermelon, skewer alternate pieces of watermelon and halloumi onto 4 large wooden or metal skewers and brush each skewer with olive oil.
  3. Grill the skewers for about a minute on each of the 4 sides (4 - 5 minutes total). Halloumi has a relatively high melting point, but it will melt if the heat is too high. It should start to soften a little bit, but lower your heat if it starts melting.
  4. Top the skewers with fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, jalapeno slices, a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few generous sprinkles of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately, with extra lime wedges and salt.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

30 Comments

  1. Reply

    valentina | sweet kabocha

    August 9, 2016

    Yellow watermelon *___*
    I’ll look for goat halloumi, since I don’t eat cow dairies ^_^

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 10, 2016

      Yes! It tastes a lot better too :)

  2. Reply

    Shareba

    August 9, 2016

    Where did you find yellow watermelon? I haven’t seen it at stores near my place yet, but I want to try it! This looks so delicious Sofia, I love all the different flavours and textures in there!

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 10, 2016

      Thanks, Shareba! I found this one at my local grocery store (Lady York near Dufferin/Lawrence). I’ve seen them at the Square One Farmer’s market in previous years, but haven’t made it out this year yet.

      • Reply

        Shareba

        August 12, 2016

        Oh good to know! I haven’t made it out to that market since last year, but I really should go.

  3. Reply

    Amanda

    August 12, 2016

    Oh, now THESE would wow your guests at a summer BBQ. I love how you mix sweet and spicy with this dish.

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 18, 2016

      Thanks, Amanda! Sweet + spicy is the best :)

  4. Reply

    Amanda

    August 12, 2016

    Beautiful presentation and I love how you used two types of watermelon

  5. Reply

    Sean

    August 12, 2016

    Sofia, I want to stare at that plate all day. That is art. Actually, I want to stare at the picture, because I want the ACTUAL plate in front of me so that I can eat it. You’ve outdone yourself here – everything is so beautifully done, so elegant but simple, and the flavours are undoubtedly perfect together. Love the yellow watermelon too! I was actually going to use some for a new recipe recently, but when I got my ‘yellow’ melon home, it was pink! Seems it had been dropped in the wrong bin. These are the perils of a fantastically well-stocked but somewhat haphazardly organized farm market! In any case, I doubt I would have done something half as gorgeous as this!

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 18, 2016

      Thanks, Sean! Yeah I also noticed that the colours are often mixed up…can’t tell from the outside :) I was supposed to have orange watermelon too, but that turned out to be the same as the yellow.

  6. Reply

    Karen Ahmed

    August 12, 2016

    This looks absolutely stunning!

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 18, 2016

      Thanks, Karen :)

      • Reply

        Estella

        December 16, 2016

        An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword th;2&#8s30i. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

  7. Reply

    Marie-Pierre

    August 12, 2016

    What goat halloumi exist too? I’m having a hard time to find the normal kind… to make you dish. It’s a sublime recipe and the pictures are “out of that world” !! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 18, 2016

      Thanks Marie-Pierre. I’ve never seed goat or sheep halloumi at the supermarket, but I found some from a local dairy. Just wanted to point out that there is a pretty significant difference, but it should turn out good with whatever halloumi you’re able to find :)

  8. Reply

    Janice

    August 13, 2016

    I love halloumi so much, and I eat far more than one girl probably should, but I didn’t know there was goat halloumi. I mean, I guess that makes sense. I often pair halloumi with fruits, like peaches. Halloumi & peach are such a lovely combination, have you ever tried it?
    Anyways, halloumi & melon also sounds like a great plan. I wish I had a grill to make this recipe!

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 19, 2016

      I have had halloumi and peach :) So good! You can try a similar dish with pan-fried halloumi (w/o a grill)….leave the watermelon fresh and make it all into a salad.

  9. Reply

    Alexandra | Occasionally Eggs

    August 13, 2016

    This is friggin gorgeous as usual. I haven’t been able to find goat halloumi, but maybe sometime in the (hopefully near) future. Watermelon is my favourite, and this recipe is perfect.

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 19, 2016

      It’ll still be good with cow’s milk halloumi but if you do get your hands on some goat’s or sheep’s milk halloumi, it’s worth trying!

  10. Reply

    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)

    August 14, 2016

    Some of my favourite flavour combinations right here! Bookmarked!

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 19, 2016

      Thanks, Mardi! Hope you like it :)

  11. Reply

    Teresa

    August 15, 2016

    This is such a lovely combination of flavours and it looks so terrific on the plate! I agree with you that goat halloumi has a better flavour than that made from cow’s milk. Making halloumi at home is on my project list and I’ll be using goat’s milk when I get around to it. Watermelon has so much to offer savoury dishes. I think I almost prefer it used that way.

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 19, 2016

      Never thought of making halloumi, but now it’ll be on my project list too :) Thanks, Theresa!

  12. Reply

    Justine @ JustineCelina.com

    August 16, 2016

    Oh gosh, another innovative and absolutely stunning creation, Sofia! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 19, 2016

      Thanks so much, Justine!

  13. Reply

    Sophie | The Green Life

    August 19, 2016

    Sofia, this dish is absolutely stunning! Love love love. I had no idea sheep and goat halloumi even existed. I don’t eat much dairy but halloumi is certainly one of the things I can’t resist to! Especially if it’s paired with all the goodness you have going on here. I’m totally making this. Gorgeous! <3

    • Reply

      Sofia

      August 22, 2016

      Thanks so much, Sophie :) Montforte Dairy has a delicious halloumi made from goat’s milk! There’s a list of Toronto markets that they sell to on their homepage.

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