I’m not sure if this completes the brief – have I really paired things that are great on their own to achieve new and surprising peaks of delights? I don’t know, but I started by trying to reimagine a classic…cheese and pickle.
Cheese and pickle is comfortably normal to me. Cheese and pickle sandwiches, cheese and pickle on a jacket potato or cheese and pickle toasties. But I have travelled to parts of Britain where cheese and pickle elicited strange looks and puzzled enquiries – cheese and pickle? Cheese and Branston pickle? Cheese…with pickle on the top?
I actually started judging cafes and delis in the North of England on how startled their staff were by my requests.
Anyway, cheese and pickle was the starting point. The cheese couldn’t be cheddar of course, too obvious, so I went for hallumi (who can resist squeaky cheese?!) I (dry) fried it along with wedges of watermelon. This addition was due to the strangest thing on a menu once sticking in my mind. Along with these I made a simple salsa of finely chopped tomato, red onion and pickled gherkins.
The hallumi didn’t let me down and the pickled gherkin salsa was lovely (and so will definitely be made again). The (dry) fried watermelon was utterly pointless. It had even less flavour than raw watermelon (if that’s possible) but I can see why it was on that menu from years ago…done properly it would make for a great Instagram pic.
Warm watermelon is weird.