After two failed attempts, I’ve decided to give up.
Who fails at grilling something as simple as fish? Grilled fresh fish is one of my favorite summertime, beachside eats, particularly small, fresh, whole fish like sardines. I’ve had them many times while on vacation and when I saw them available at the fish counter yesterday I was excited to bring some of the Mediterranean into my kitchen, especially since Mother Nature had the warm weather covered. I wasn’t going to have a beachside setting but I thought my backyard swimming pool would be a decent substitute. There’s nothing like fresh fish hot off the grill, needing only to be finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and maybe a glass of rosé to wash it down with.
But I can’t seem to keep the fish intact while grilling it. The skin stuck to the grill and while they cooked just fine they weren’t pretty at all. My husband had them for dinner and I was so disappointed that I declared defeat and skipped them altogether.
It’s a good thing the summertime-food category is a wide-ranging one. Grilled vegetables and meats are just one of many options and if one considers the sub-category of picnic food the options become ever wider. This month’s Blogger C.L.U.E. Society theme was picnic food and naturally, salads and sandwiches were the first to come to mind.
I had the pleasure of being assigned to a lovely blog, Anna Dishes. Anna has been blogging for over five years and has managed to create a very nice collection of recipes while sharing some of her travels in between. One post in particular caught my eye–her recap of her visit to Sitges, Spain. Sitges is a beautiful beach town a short train ride from Barcelona and I haven’t known other people who have ever been there, until now. It was an immediate connection for me and a sign that I would find many recipes in her blog that would catch my eye.
The search didn’t take long, though. As soon as I saw Anna’s recipe for Watermelon Salad I knew it would be the one. The scorching temperatures had a lot to do with my decision and a large serving of chilled watermelon, feta and mint tossed in a little olive oil, honey and fresh lime juice seemed like the perfect way to beat the heat. With no cooking required there was no risk of failure (unlike the sardines)–only a promise of one refreshing bite after another. The only liberties I took were to add cucumber and lime. I love how fresh lime juice brightens the flavors of fresh fruit and the cucumber was for some textural contrast. The salty feta balanced nicely with the light touch of honey and the sweetness of the watermelon. The mint is more than just a garnish, too. It brings everything together.
This salad managed to dull the sting of disappointment after my failed grilled sardines, perking up not only my taste buds but my spirits, too. Thanks, Anna!
Here are more recipes from Anna’s blog that caught my eye:
- Watermelon, cubed
- Feta cheese, cubed
- Cucumber, cubed
- Olive oil
- Fresh lime juice
- Fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (about 5-8 large mint leaves for 5-6 cups salad)
- (See Note about Measurements)
- Stir together equal parts olive oil, honey and fresh lime juice (see note). In a large bowl, toss together the watermelon, cucumber, feta along with the combined liquid ingredients. Best kept chilled until ready to serve. Toss in the mint right before serving.
- (Almost) Nancy’s Chopped Salad w/ Oregano Vinaigrette by Heather from girlichef
- Apple Chips by Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Barbecue Chicken Salad w/ Smoky Barbecue Vinaigrette by Kate from Kate’s Kitchen
- California Quinoa Greek Salad;by Christiane from Taking on Magazines
- Carrot Cake Cookies by Kathy from Bakeaway with Me
- Chicken Salad w/ Peanut Dressing by Azmina from Lawyer Loves Lunch
- Chicken Waldorf Salad by Aly from Cooking in Stilettos
- Duck with Pear Wraps + Limeade with Chia Seeds by Kelli from Kelli’s Kitchen
- Fried Apple Pies by Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Green Bean & Corn Salad by Alice from A Mama, Baby and Shar-pei in the Kitchen
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad by Lea Ann from Cooking on the Ranch
- Minty Cardinal Punch by Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Mushroom Parmesan Muffins by Kate from Kate’s Kitchen
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter Date Cookies by Rebekah from Making Miracles
- Olive Sables by Lisa from Authentic Suburban Gourmet
- Puff Pastry Antipasto Squares by Anna from annaDishes
- Smoky Pimento Cheese Spread by Debra from Eliot’s Eats
- Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Baked Beans + Chickenburger Roll-in-a-Basket by Kathy from A Spoonful of Thyme
- Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Chip Cookies by Kim from Liv Life
- Tuscan Bean Salad by Stacy from Food Lust People Love
- Watermelon Feta Salad by Jean from Lemons and Anchovies
- White Bean, Bacon and Rosemary Salad by Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva