LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2014 — It‘s summertime in SoCal and the livin’s easy. The beaches are bumping, the weather is perfect and the grills are heating up. Grilling in SoCal is a year round thing. There is nothing better than being in the backyard with the smell of coals burning in the air, and getting creative with fire and food. In the summertime it’s especially fun to get experimental with different things and see what you can come up with. This dish happened out of luck after feeling inspired on a recent weekend afternoon. You can make the Grilled Watermelon and Ahi Salad as an appetizer or a Sunday evening summer salad.
1- 8oz Ahi Tuna filet
1-salad mix package (I used rocket salad because I like the earthiness)
1/2-seedless watermelon (cut in 1” slices)
1-bunch of basil
1-TB of Santa Maria style seasoning
2 TB – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TB – Lemon
1 tsp – Honey Mustard
1 TB – Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp – Oyster Sauce
1 tsp – Sriracha
First off, you want to get those slices of watermelon cooked up. Place them on your grill over direct heat for a couple minutes on each side so you can get a nice char on both sides. Then put them on the indirect side for a few minutes to get nice and cooked. After a little bit pull them off and set aside on a plate to let them cool and get to room temperature.
Once that is done, bust out the grill pan and place it over the direct heat to warm up. Leave the lid off the grill at this point while the pan heats. The grill should be about 330 to 350 degrees when the Ahi goes on so the ahi does not burn.
Next, you want to cut up the Ahi into small 1/4” slices and then cut those in half. It makes the Ahi go a lot further in the salad and the small slices also char up nicely. Put those slices into a big bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, some lemon and the Santa Maria Seasoning.
After the fish is prepped you can make your salad dressing by mixing all the ingredients into a bowl and whisking together.
When the Ahi is ready to go and the grill has reached the right temperature, it is time to grill all the main components. Start off by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan, then some lemon juice. You can even add some cut up lemons in there so you can drizzle the grilled lemon juice over the salad as a final touch. Throw in the jalapenos next and the let them cook up for a minute or two.
Add the Ahi to the pan and brown on all sides over the course of the next few minutes. Once the fish is developing a nice brown crust add the basil in for the last minute or two of cooking. Once done cooking, remove from pan and let cool for just a few minutes.
Now, you are ready to plate. Cut the grilled watermelon into bite sized pieces. Place them over a bed of the rocket salad. Add the Ahi grill mix to your plate. Drizzle the dressing over your salad. Finally, add a generous handful of feta cheese and some wonton strips as a top layer and you are good to go.
This salad paired really well with a Black IPA from Knee Deep, called Midnight Hoppyness. A Hefeweizen would also go well with this salad and bring out the citrusy notes. It had a great floral and piney presence with a smooth roastiness that brought out the char and eased the heat of the jalapenos.
This experience was enhanced by the sounds of The Bastard Suns Long Live Song CD. It is great summer listening when you’re in your boardies and grilling by the pool. Cheers.
This article was written by guest master chef, Steve “Da Grilla” Guerrero. The Punk Rock Foodie brand was created by the genius of Xander Tee.
Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball