If you decide to make this, do yourself a favor and try two things while you are at it. Number one, snack on a lot of watermelon as you go, sprinkled with sea salt. That’s my husband’s favorite. Number two, save at least one basil leaf and eat it straight with a bite of watermelon. The result is something like cinnamon…not watermelon and not basil. It is very interesting alchemy.
This is a great little party bite. You can make it ahead of time and drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar on top at the last second. It is easy, fresh, and flavorful. Watermelons are abundant right now and my basil plants are fecund and robust. The amounts you buy are dependent on how many little bites you want to make. Each slice of bacon can be cut in fourths. You will have enough watermelon to make hundreds if you want to, so plan your cheese and bacon purchases accordingly.
One seedless watermelon (with plenty left over)
One log of goat cheese
Bacon, cooked and each slice cut into 4 pieces
Fresh basil leaves
Cut a watermelon into big disks, about one inch thick. Using a small round cookie cutter (bearing in mind that this makes a mouthful even with small diameter circles), cut out little cylinders of watermelon, avoiding the seedy spots. Seedless watermelons are not exactly seedless. Cut each little cylinder into 3 or 4 disks. Set the watermelon disks onto paper towels briefly to drain excess juice.
Cut the log of goat cheese into disks of approximately the same thickness as the watermelon disks. Use the cookie cutter to trim the cheese to the same size as the watermelon, taking care not to let the goat cheese crumble too much. Place a disk of goat cheese onto each disk of watermelon. Top each with a piece of bacon and a basil leaf. At the last moment, drizzle each bite with a little balsamic vinegar.
This is one of those applications where it really pays to have a high quality balsamic vinegar. And, you are only using a drop per serving. If you haven’t indulged yourself in a great bottle of vinegar, consider it. This is Aceto Balsamico de Modena by Fattoria Estense which I purchased at Sur la Table. If you live in Dallas, you can have all of the great vinegars formerly available at the Flavors from Afar store in Snider Plaza, such as Oliviers and Ariston, delivered right to your door by Artizone.
This recipe was inspired by a sandwich I ran across in the Southern Farmers Market Cookbook, by Holly Herrick. I think my mom picked it up for me last year at the English Pharmacy in Wichita Falls, proving again that some of the best stuff ever can be found at pharmacies and car washes.