The year I went to summer camp at Valley Mills, Texas, was also the summer I fell in love with watermelons. I was just off turning 9 and all along the blue highways of central Texas you’d find these big ol’ shacks by the side of the road that would sell ice cold watermelons out of dilpidated old vertical Coke coolers, full of ice and water. The melons would float on the surface and it was worth your life fishing one out, the water was so cold your hands nearly froze off. 

Watermelons always meant summer when I was a kid, but you didn’t always come by them at the roadside tiendas. Some times, men in well-worn pickup trucks would just pull off a country highway and sell big, striped green watermelons out of the back of their trucks, just picked out of the patch that morning. 

Though big slices of watermelon are still one of my favorite fruits, I seldom find one that tastes as good as those melons I “dined” on in Texas. Some friends of mine from Iran assure me that the best melons come from Persia, which is where the original watermelons first appeared. I haven’t tried an Iranian melon yet, but with summer coming on in the southern hemisphere, I thought it might be apt to suggest a few choice watermelon recipes from my childhood.

 The first is this totally amazng chilled soup.

Southern Summer Gazpacho

4 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into chunks (about 7 cups)

½ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves

1 cup blanched slivered almonds

3 garlic cloves

4 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a blender, place the mint leaves topped by the watermelon chunks and puree. This may need to be done in batches.

Strain the watermelon puree through a wire mesh strainer into a pitcher or large bowl, scraping on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible and to remove any stray seeds.

In the blender, puree almonds, garlic, red wine vinegar and salt. Tear the bread into small chunks and place in blender with about 1 cup of watermelon puree. Puree until smooth, adding olive oil in a slow steady stream and watermelon puree (as much as the blender will hold).

Pour this gazpacho mixture into the remaining watermelon puree and stir until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 6 – 8



1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup diced seedless watermelon


Place the celery, ginger and vinegar in a blender and puree. Add the watermelon and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


Serves 4.




  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs


Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.


About stonekingseminars

Poet, screenwriter, producer, mentor
This entry was posted in Memories, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Really good uses for watermelon! Thanks so much for sharing. Yummy.

  2. The watermelons we are getting in Chicago right now are terrible! Are you still getting good watermelons where you are? Thanks for the blog.

    • The quality varies but generally they are good to very good here in Australia. Although my Iranian friend, Amin, is always telling me they are like nothing compared to what you find in Iran and Afghanistan. It IS a desert plant after all!


  3. Awia says:

    that salad looks like Summer, bring it on…!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s