A Refreshing Sicilian Watermelon Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 14, 2009
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Auntie Pasto’s Watermelon Gennaro

Normally at this time of year, Auntie Pasto’s Kunia features its annual Garlic Festival. This year the popular restaurant has gone with a different theme, celebrating the flavors of fall.

Owner Ed Wary was in New York City this summer to fine-tune his gnocchi-making skills and learn some new Sicilian dishes when he had the opportunity to visit a little neighborhood Italian restaurant. A watermelon and goat cheese salad was one of those Sicilian dishes he experienced.

Wary and the staff at Auntie Pasto’s in Kunia have created a delectable menu with dishes such as pumpkin tiramisu, zucchini fettuccine, sweet potato and the above-mentioned salad, for which he was kind enough to give me the recipe to share with MidWeek readers.

Fall Festival will continue through the month of October at Auntie Pasto’s Kunia, located in Kunia Shopping Center. For more information and hours, call 680-0005 or visit www.auntiepastos.com.

This column is dedicated to Ed and the folks at Auntie Pasto’s Kunia.

Watermelon is low in calories and has the highest concentration of lycopene of any other fruit or vegetable. It has no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and contains amino acids that some studies have shown to maintain heart health. Watermelon also has a good amount of potassium, and contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, fiber and iron.

When choosing water-melon, look for a firm melon that is heavy for its size and has no bruises, cuts or dents. The underside of the melon should have a yellow area from where it sat to ripen in the sun. After cutting from the rind, water-melon should be refrigerated in a covered container and will keep for about four days.


* 7 1-inch, ripe, seedless watermelon cubes

* 2 teaspoons goat cheese

* 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

* 2 tablespoons really good extra-virgin olive oil

* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste, if watching your sodium

Pour the olive oil into your serving plate and roll the plate to coat the entire surface.

Place watermelon on the plate. Top each cube of melon with a quarter teaspoon of goat cheese.

Garnish plate with thyme leaves, making sure that one or two leaves top each cube.

Sprinkle with sea salt.

Makes one serving. May be doubled, tripled etc.

Tip: Best to serve immediately, but it can be refrigerated for about an hour.


(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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