Pickled Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Grilled Cilantro Lime Salmon


  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 6-ounce center-cut portions sustainable farm-raised salmon
  • 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 2 cups tomatoes, different colors, sliced
  • 1/2 cup watermelon pickles, recipe follows
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup basil, chiffonade
  • Dressing, recipe follows


Combine lime juice and zest with ¼ cup cilantro, honey, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and marinate salmon for at least 60 minutes, but no more than 8 hours.

Mix together watermelon, tomatoes, pickled watermelon, cucumber, jalapeño, greens and remaining cilantro and basil in a bowl and toss with dressing.

Grill salmon to desired doneness and serve over salad.

To make pickled watermelon rind: Combine 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water, ¾ cup sugar, 2 ounces sliced ginger root, 4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon allspice berries, 1 star anise pod and 1 cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. While the pickle cools, peel outer watermelon rind and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to pickling and marinate for 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight and consume within a month.

To make dressing: combine 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil while whisking mixture. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Chef-Owner Sera Cuni, The Root Cellar, Chapel Hill and Pittsboro, NC, from Food Fanatics Magazine