Last night I met Janet at Rouge et Blanc in the West Village for dinner. We were both looking for a light meal since we’ve both been over indulging recently. Rouge et Blanc’s Vietnamese/French inspired menu is filled with small plates focused on vegetables and fish so we thought it would be a good choice.
When I started looking through the menu right off I spotted my nemesis, yuzu, in the Watermelon Salad with Yuzu, Olive Oil, Mint & Chèvre. As I may have already mentioned yuzu drives me crazy because its on every menu but I’ve never seen it in a grocery store, gourmet emporium, or Chinatown shop. Despite the yuzu, I have a major crush on watermelon salad so we ordered it anyway.
I had my first savory watermelon salad at the Mark two years ago and have loved it ever since. In the past two years I’ve tried a number of watermelon salads but Rouge et Blanc’s rendition is my favorite to date and I hate to say it but its the yuzu that really makes the dish sparkle. When I started to vent about the lack of yuzu availability, Janet pointed out that she’d recently seen it at Sunrise, the Japanese Market in the East Village. Yay, Janet!
Well, sort of, they didn’t have fresh yuzu but they did have the next best thing, yuzu hachimitsu, which is yuzu combined with honey vinegar. It’s delicious!! I could drink it straight from the bottle.
After the watermelon salad we had the Brussels Sprouts with Lime, Garlic & Soybean Crumble, the Vietnamese Sausage with Rice Noodles, Pistachios, & Onion Vinaigrette and the Bone Marrow with Octopus, Pickled Plum & Shaved Fennel. Everything at Rouge et Blanc was delicious although the bone marrow isn’t the best dish if you’re squeamish.
This watermelon salad is super easy and is delightful for summer. The salad looks its best with a mixture of yellow and red watermelon but I can never find yellow watermelon so I make do with just the red. Don’t worry too much about the yuzu. If you can’t find it just mix a little key lime juice with orange juice as a substitution.
Watermelon Salad with Yuzu, Olive Oil, Mint & Chèvre (serves 1, scale as needed)
(Active time: 10 minutes)
- 1 1/2 c watermelon cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tbsp chèvre or fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 1/2 tsp yuzu hachimitsu or 1tsp key lime mixed with 1/2 tsp orange juice
- 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp torn mint leaves