Quick! While it’s still watermelon season, grab yourself a seedless baby watermelon (about 6 pounds yields 3 pounds) and make this. It’s light and refreshing, and I was awed by the combination of sweet, tart, and salty flavors. Cotija traditionally is an aged Mexican cheese that is crumbly and salty, and this nondairy version keeps well in your refrigerator so you can save any extra to use on tacos, tostadas, other Mexican dishes, or any of your favorite veggies.

Ingredients:

3 pounds seedless watermelon chunks

¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

½ cup fresh mint leaves

¼ cup light rum (1 nip bottle)

½ teaspoon salt

Mint sprigs for garnish

Cotija cheese for garnish (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Place the lime juice and mint leaves in a small bowl and muddle them until the leaves are well bruised and have given off as much flavor as possible. You can use a mortar and pestle or just the back of a sturdy spoon.
  2. Scoop the mint leaves out with your hands and wring them out as much as possible, then discard them.
  3. Add the rum to the bowl of lime juice and pour it all over the watermelon chunks.
  4. Sprinkle the salt over all and stir well. Garnish each serving with mint sprigs and cotija cheese.

Cotija Cheese

1 cup whole raw cashews

2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoon white vinegar

¾ teaspoon salt

Process the cashews until finely crumbly but not pasty.  Add the other ingredients and pulse until combined but still crumbly.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.