Watermelon and Berry Salad with Mint [Intro to Cooking]

I had an out of town guests this weekend, and though we introduced them to the local cuisine, I always like to have a container of something delicious on hand. I made a large batch of this, which kept us nourished between meals and adventures. Depending on your audience, this can easily be doubled or halved to fit your needs. The key is to taste as your are adding the mint syrup, as too much mint can be overwhelming for most.

Part of my cooking philosophy is to trust your preferences. If you are cooking, and you do not like the way something tastes, add something to it! You won’t like it when it’s finished either! Start with following a good recipe, and taste every step of the way. You will soon begin to learn how single ingredients can change a whole dish, and eventually you can ditch the recipes all together!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 watermelon
  • 1 package of strawberries
  • 1 pint of blackberries
  • 1 pint of raspberries
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of granulated sugar

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes; no cooking required

Directions

  1. Wash and pat dry all berries and mint, scrub outside of watermelon.
  2. Trim and halve strawberries. Dice watermelon into a size consistent with your strawberries.
  3. Pluck mint leaves from stem, roll up and slice, producing thin slivers of mint.
  4. Muddle mint and sugar, until the mint is crushed and the sugar dissolves a bit. (A muddler is the best tool for this, but you can also use a wooden bowl and a wooden spoon.)
  5. Add agave nectar to the mint and stir. Add a little of the lime juice at a time, tasting as you go. Mix well.
  6. Assemble fruit in your serving bowl. Drizzle the mint syrup over the fruit, starting with half the syrup, and adding to taste. If your fruit is particularly sweet, less of the syrup will be necessary.

Pro Tips:

  1. You may substitute lemon juice for the lime, and honey for the agave nectar.
  2. If you’re feeling adventurous, mint can be substituted with rosemary or thyme.
  3. Optional topping: marscapone, goat or blue cheese.
  4. If you find yourself at the bottom of the container with no more room in your bellies for fruit salad, the remainder can be blended, run through a fine sieve, and used to mix delicious summer cocktails! Gin! Vodka! White Rum!
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