When the weather heats up, what better way to cool off than to enjoy a little cool, sweet watermelon. I can’t imagine summer without the luscious flavor of watermelon. The dog days of summer are here. It’s terribly hot outside. Too hot to do much of anything outside …a perfect time to stretch my culinary knowledge.

Here’s the skinny on watermelon- a delish summer treat: 92% water, mild diuretic, great source of vitamin C. Entire melon is edible, though most Americans only eat the pretty pink part…except in the south where we sometimes pickle the rind (perhaps I’ll try this one day). Have you ever noticed how we southerners will pickle anything? I digress. In Asia, they use the rind in stir-frys . Also notable, the green fleshy part between the skin and the pink is very high in nutrients, though we usually don’t eat this part because of the strange flavor.

I bought a huge watermelon at the market today and  needed to find a fantastic recipe that would highlight this summer treat. Bingo- Watermelon Pork Tacos in Lettuce Wraps. The ingredient list was long and full of asian delights that I have never cooked with: oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar. A perfect way to stretch my culinary vocabulary.

The prep time was a bit lengthy…chopping, dicing and peeling, but pair the prep with a summer cocktail and some fun toons and the work seems quite minimal. In addition to the toasted sesame oil and the oyster sauce (yes this is a sauce made by an oyster reduction- very rich), the pork marinade had garlic, ginger, serrano chiles, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. The result was a fantastic asian flavor. The salsa included watermelon, cucumbers, an avocado, olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. TASTY. Tangy and sweet.

Though the prep was a bit lengthy, the actual cook time was quite quick. The pork was sliced into medallions and quickly grilled. After grilling, I diced the pork and created a do it yourself buffet to fill the lettuce wraps with this delish combination of pork and watermelon. I can’t even believe how much the wraps tasted like PF Changs….but more fresh and actually much better. A wonderful way to combine Asian, Mexican and American flavors and a nice, light summer dish to be enjoyed in a casual setting with a good beer and great friends.

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