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Watermelon with Mint Zabaglione

A favorite summer fruit, watermelon takes on an unexpected flavor profile when grilled. Mint-flavored zabaglione transforms the fruit from a backyard barbecue staple into a dressed-up southern Italian showstopper. At the height of the season, substitute honeydew melon or cantaloupe for the watermelon. 

Ingredients:

For the mint zabaglione: 

  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine 
  • 12 fresh mint leaves, rolled up lengthwise and sliced crosswise into thin ribbons 
  •   
  • 1 watermelon, rind and seeds removed, flesh cut into cubes 1 inch thick 
  • 2 Tbs. sugar 
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime 

Directions:

To make the mint zabaglione, in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until thick and pale colored, about 2 minutes. Place the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in a saucepan or bottom pan of the double boiler. Continue whisking until the mixture doubles in volume and registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine and continue whisking vigorously until the mixture triples in volume and no liquid remains in the bottom of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Fold in the mint. Transfer the zabaglione to a serving bowl and let stand at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Prepare a medium fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Grill the watermelon cubes over the hottest part of the fire until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Turn the cubes over and grill again until marks appear, about 2 minutes more. Repeat the process on all sides.

Transfer the watermelon cubes to a bowl. Add the sugar, lime zest and lime juice and gently stir to coat.

Divide the watermelon among individual plates and top with the zabaglione. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).