Prep time: 3 hours 20 minutes
1 seedless yellow watermelon
1 seedless red watermelon
for the brine:
1 1/2 cups pickling salt
6 liters water
12 ice cubes
for the syrup:
1+1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon clove
2 cups granulated sugar
8 liters water
2 teaspoons salt
to assemble the dish:
8 ounces halloumi
fancy salt (Maldon, kosher, fleur de sel)
2 ounces absinthe
2 ounces limoncello
Chef's Note: Rinds can ideally be prepared a couple days ahead.
1. Remove green skin from watermelon with a vegetable peeler. Cut the ends of the watermelon to create a flat surface to work with.
2. Using a sharp, long knife or bread knife, remove the white rind, taking as little flesh with it as possible.
3. Cut the white rind into batons 1/4 inch by 1 inch.
4. Now, prepare the salt brine (mix to incorporate). Add watermelon rind and ice. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
5. When it's been marinating for a while, take the rind out of the salt brine and rinse. Boil in 8 liters of water until tender.
6. Remove rind and add sugar and spices. Simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Return the rind and simmer until transparent. Allow to cool.
8. Using a melon baller, portion out the yellow melon. Use your knife to cube the red melon into 1-inch cubes.
9. Place into separate Vac Pack bags and add the absinthe to the red watermelon and the limoncello to the yellow.
10. Take the bags to your friend's restaurant or ask your friendly neighborhood butcher to seal the bags for you. Make sure that the melon and liquor is as cold as possible when compressing.
11. Allow to rest for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
12. In a medium-sized saute pan, heat oil. Cube halloumi into 1/2 inch pieces and sear until golden brown.
13. In a bowl, assemble the melon, rinds, halloumi, and freshly chopped mint. Dress with olive oil and salt.