watermelon chevre pistachio salad dressed with rosewater, lime, and basil

summer salads
notes from maggie's farm

Borrowing the exotic flavors of today's featured drink, Watermelon Rose Lassi, try this impressive, and impressively simple, salad, with bold and old-world tastes.  One bite will transport you to far-off lands and tales of princes and camel-traversed kingdoms, sand-whipped landscapes under a broad expanse of starry skies......and just, for a minute, might take your mind off of your 9-5, sun-scorched day, as it has my goat-bleating, mud-trudging, feed-flinging vegetable-harvesting hours, too.

Off to dream......

"… imagine walking past an Arabian garden, cool and green in the bright sun, with a fountain splashing softly in the background and a faintly sweet, almost undetectable fragrance of roses lingering in the air…"
Once enjoyed as a cool and inexpensive facial toner, I knew little about the culinary uses of rose water until I began, in my young adulthood, to explore ethnic cuisines.  I've come to adore this fragrant, sweet elixir, keeping a small bottle close to my teapot, as well as dabbling just a tiny bit in many sweets, dressings, and even marinades.  Oh, I still use it as a toner, too.  It reminds me of my precious grandmother and her gorgeous roses, and that, my friend, is a little slice of heaven.

But, hey, don't take only my word for it!  You'll find rose water being touted in some pretty fancy places. Here, a few notes about rose water, courtesy of The New York Times:

Rose water has a long and illustrious culinary history. Made by distilling rose petals with steam, it was created by chemists of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. It became firmly ensconced in the cooking of the Middle East, North Africa and North India, all cuisines in which the floral and the aromatic are highly prized.

This relatively inexpensive product allows you, with just a drop or two, to add the alluring fragrance of one of the world’s great flowers to your cooking.

If you’re looking for clues as to how to use this distinctive flavoring, there are plenty of traditional recipes to turn to, most of them for sweets.

Rose water matches uncannily well with many fruits, drawing out their shy aromas. Try adding a bit to a bowl of strawberries, or sprinkling sliced melon, plums or peaches with rose water mixed with a bit of riesling.

Despite its lack of mainstream popularity, rose water is surprisingly easy to find in this country. Middle Eastern stores carry it, as do most Indian stores and many specialty-food stores. Most brands are fine, though the readily available Cortas, made in Lebanon, seems to me to have particularly clear flavor. Just don’t buy rose syrup, which may have added sugar that will throw off your recipes.

read this article in its entirety, here.

Now this beauty is really easy.  Simply seed and chunk watermelon.  Toss with a handful of firm chevre 'sprinkles' (I often use store-bought, in place of my homemade chevre during 'dry' seasons such as this.  My nanny is being 'dryed off', in preparation for her 'season'. ) and a handful of coarsely chopped pistachios.  Chop about a tablespoon full of fresh basil, and stir together with remaining watermelon juice, the juice of half a small lime (more, or less, to taste), 1/2 to 1 tsp of rose water (start small, add more if you desire...) and a dash of kosher salt.  Mix well and dress salad.  Let chill for 30 minutes (too long and you'll have mush), and serve...

...perhaps during the reading of a chapter of Arabian Nights~

Pistachio and Rose Petals


  1. I love all of those ingredients and I would not have thought to put them together so this is a real treat-Also your story telling about the camel traversed kingdoms had me in a daydream for a minute Thanks!

    1. Like I've ever been to a camel-traversed kingdom....lol. That's what books are good for! I hope you enjoy this salad.

      See you tomorrow!

  2. Sounds terrific! And luckily, I just bought a watermelon. I'll be picking up rosewater post haste....

    1. Can't wait to hear how you like it. Stay cool, lil' mama!

  3. This was very interesting!! A lot of stuff I did not know. Thank you!


    1. Thank YOU for stopping by, Kathy. I appreciate you!


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