Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Carpaccio

In keeping with our tomato theme, here’s a recipe for tomatoes with watermelon and a sweet-salty dressing. Use tomatoes of all shapes and colors, not too large, and employ a sharp knife to slice them thinly, crosswise if tomatoes are round, and lengthwise if they’re elongated. If mint is running amok and flowering in your yard, nip it in the bud. Strip tiny blossoms from their flowering spike and strew a handful on the salad – fresh, pretty and flavorful.

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Carpaccio

4 Tbs. each sugar and water

large pinch crushed fresh pepper

2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

¾ tsp. salt, or to taste

2 Tbs. finely shaved red onion

½ a baby watermelon

colorful small to medium tomatoes (about 1lb.)

1 Tbs. each finely slivered mint, basil and cilantro leaves

2 Tbs. olive oil

Mint flowers from your garden, if available

Heat sugar and water in a small pan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce until syrupy. Add crushed red pepper, lime juice, and salt – syrup should taste quite salty. Add red onion to syrup and cool. (Syrup will turn pink.) Place half a watermelon flesh-down and cut into 1/3 (third) inch or so slices. Cut red flesh (discard rind) into squares or rectangles approximately 2 -3 inches wide. Very thinly slice tomatoes so they’ll drape. Sliver herbs: roll basil and mint leaves around cilantro to form a tube, and slice finely.

To assemble (see photos): Lay a line of the watermelon squares end to end on a long platter (or 2 smaller platters.) Spoon over lime syrup, including some of the pickled onion, and sprinkle with herbs. Layer  tomato slices over watermelon–spooning over syrup and pickled onion, and strewing with herbs–until tomatoes are used up. Drizzle with olive oil, toss on the last of the herbs and, if available, some tiny mint blossoms. Serves 4 as a salad. With a wedge of buratta, and crusty bread, this makes a light refreshing lunch or supper. Remaining syrup can be refrigerated and used as a dip for watermelon slices or as seasoning for tomatoes.

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