Compressed watermelon has become increasingly popular with chefs in recent years. More translucent than fresh watermelon, this elegant ingredient is made by placing the fruit under vacuum. This causes the liquid inside the watermelon flesh to boil, rupturing the cell walls. For this method to work, you will need to use a machine with a vacuum chamber rather than a bar sealer. The ruptured cells will collapse in on themselves when the pressure is returned to normal, resulting in a denser texture.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the watermelon into large, flat slices approximately 2cm in thickness.
- With the vacuum packer set on full pressure, seal the slices inside a vacuum bag.
- Store the watermelon in the bag until ready to use.
You could add a spoonful of sugar syrup to the bag to sweeten the watermelon. Alternatively, for a fresher taste, try adding a few mint leaves.
Compressed watermelon is a versatile ingredient. It can be used to add colour and freshness to savoury dishes. You might like to try making Kevin Mangeolles’s delicious Mackerel with compressed watermelon, crab and horseradish salad or Simon Hulstone’s sophisticated Crab and watermelon starter. Alternatively, use your watermelon in a sweet dish, such as Tom Aikens’s stunning tropical dessert of Compressed watermelon with coconut sorbet.
Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com