Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Compressed watermelon

One morning we were having breakfast at Sustenio in San Antonio when this thing that looked like a piece of raw tuna showed up. It was a about1"x2" in cross section and 6" long. Looked like a lot of raw fish and at breakfast? Hmmm
And then I had a piece of it. It turned out to be compressed watermelon, infused lightly with pickled ginger. Compressing the ginger expels some of the water (flavourless) and then any flavourings are reabsorbed. Clever stuff.
So on the phone to Chef Gilbert - "is this doable at home?" using a regular vacuum "FoodSaver" rig. His simple answer - "yes, go for it".
So here goes:


1 Watermelon (using the flesh near the skin only) - total weight 10-12 lbs
12" piece of fresh ginger - juiced. I chopped it finely and used a citrus juicer
Same volume Agave nectar as ginger juice


Peel the water melon and slice into batons about 1/2" square and 3" long. Place batons into a vacuum bag in a single layer. Divide the ginger liquid evenly among the bags. Massage very lightly to ensure that the liquid is evenly spread across the watermelon in the bag.
Vacuum and double seal the bags. You will notice liquid being sucked out of the melon. Some may go into the channel. Don't worry too much that is easy to clean.
Refrigerate for at least 12 and preferably 24 hours.


This is amazingly flavourfull. You get a very firmly textured watermelon with the flavors permeating each piece. The watermelon flavour stays with you for an hour or so. 
Clever and simple.
Thanks Dave

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