Juneteenth, (aka Freedom or Jubilee Day) commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers brought news to Galveston, TX that the Civil War had ended and the slaves were free. This was 2 1/2 years after President Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation. Since the proclamation was declared while the war was still happening, Confederate states ignored it. Once the war ended, the proclamation was finally enforced in the South, and the slaves were officially free! Juneteenth celebrations vary from state to state, but usually include family gatherings and cookouts, where red food/drinks are served to honor the blood that was shed during slavery.
In celebration of Juneteenth, we’ve taken the classic watermelon and put a tasty spin on it. This grilled watermelon (yes we said grilled) is the perfect dish for any summer celebration. When you take your first bite, your taste buds will encounter the sweet watermelon taste, followed by the smoky heat of the chipotle crema, but quickly cooled down by that same, juicy watermelon. Grilling the watermelon gives you a heartier texture, and the queso fresco and cilantro round out all the flavors into a heavenly bite of summer.
Ready in 25 minutes; Serves 10-12 as a side
To make this recipe you’ll need:
- ¼ cup créme fraîche*
- 1 chipotle chile in Adobo sauce**
- Juice from ½ lime
- Salt to taste
- 1 seedless watermelon (5-7 pounds)
- Vegetable oil for the grill
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup queso fresco
Make the chipotle crema by adding the créme fraîche, chipotle, and lime juice to a blender/food processor and blending until smooth. Pour into a small bowl, add salt to taste, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat the grill to 450℉, and brush the grill grates with oil.
Take the watermelon and slice off the ends. Then, cutting crosswise, slice into 1-inch rounds. This will yield 5-6 rounds depending on the size of the watermelon. Place the watermelon rounds on the grill, cooking each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the watermelon from the grill and slice each round (like a pizza) into 8 triangles.
Place the watermelon slices on a large platter and drizzle each sliced with the chipotle crema. Sprinkle the slices with the cilantro and queso fresco, and enjoy!
*You can find a great Creme Fraiche recipe in our cookbook, Wholeheartedly, but if you don’t have any on hand you can use sour cream instead.
**Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce can be found in a small can in the Latin aisle of your grocery store. For less spice, use ½ of a chipotle pepper.