Nothing says summer like: even worse smelling subway cars, a huge spike in shootings, are-you-really-wearing-that-to-the-beach swimwear, watermelon and backyard basil.
One of my favorite tastes in the world is fresh, unwashed basil straight from a Brooklyn backyard garden. My mother and grandmother used to grow basil, tomatoes, (maybe fennel) and eggplant in their Guinea Garden (A patch of dirt surrounded by cement where Italians will grow herbs and vegetables) and I swear that was the best basil in the world (the D’Amato’s had better tomatoes in the yard across from us. You could eat ‘em like apples.)
I was lucky enough to snag a bag of basil from Palmer Farms in Bushwick, Brooklyn (AKA Chris and Laura’s back yard) and I fell back in love with backyard basil.
That was sappy. Let’s make a salad.
1 ½ lbs. watermelon, large dice
12oz kelp noodles
1 C cashews
1 C torn basil leaves
1 C crunchy bean sprouts
2 T sesame oil
2 T rice vinegar
1 t Sriracha
1 T agave or molasses or whatever sweetener you use
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of ground ginger.
Cut the kelp noodles in half, lengthwise, and soak in cold water for 10 minutes.
In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the cashews until fragrant.
Combine the watermelon, basil, cashews, kelp noodles and sprouts in a large bowl.
In a small jar, combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave, Sriracha, garlic and ginger. Shake until combined.
Pour a little of the dressing over the salad and mix well.
Serve on a large serving tray. Refrigerate the remaining dressing