Molecular Gastronomy: Grilled Watermelon Sphere Salad / by Alice Zhao

Molecular Gastronomy, Spherification, Grilled Watermelon Spheres

Jared was inspired by the grilled watermelon salad that Chef Brian Wong had prepared for us, so he decided to reinvent the dish as an amuse bouche. Besides, he had been looking for an excuse to play around with molecular gastronomy again. He worked hard last night and finally got the right combination. Don't let the pictures fool you, it took him quite some time to get the perfectly rounded sphere. A lot of them broke and were just mishapened.

I can only describe it as an adult version of gushers, a big burst of flavor in your mouth. Remember that stuff? :) You first taste the sourness of the balsamic followed by the sweet burst of watermelon juice. You can really taste the watermelon's smokiness from the grill. Lastly, the texture of the greens and the mint leaves round out the flavors of this dish. This is a great way to start a fancy pants meal and also to impress your friends.
Ingredients:

2 large chunks of watermelon
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
mint leaves
micro greens
salt
pepper
lemon juice
1gm sodium alginate
5gm calcium chloride
water
Recipe:
  • Drizzle the watermelon with oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Heat the grill on high
  • Once the grill is very hot, sear the watermelon for about 1 min
  • Place the watermelon in a blender and puree
  • Filter the juice to remove the pulp through a sieve
  • Put 200 ml of the juice back into the blender and add 1 gm of sodium alginate. Blend the mixture until evenly mixed. The liquid should have thicken up.
  • Pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle and let it sit in the fridge to remove the bubbles (~4 hours or overnight) Air bubbles in the mixture can cause the sphere to break apart easily when forming. It is better to remove as much of the air bubbles as possible.
  • In another bowl add 500 ml of water and the 5 gm of calcium chloride, stir until the calcium chloride dissolves
  • Take a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon and quickly dip it into the calcium solution. Gently squeeze in the watermelon mixture into the tablespoon, slowly submerge the spoon into the calcium chloride solution. Swirl the spoon around until a shell has formed, then carefully turn over the spoon to release the sphere.
  • Let it sit for 1-2 mins then remove the sphere and place it in a water bath
  • In the mean time, toss the micro greens, mint leaves with olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
  • Strain the sphere and place it in a serving spoon.
  • Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and top it with the greens.
  • Serve immediately.
Molecular Gastronomy, Spherification, Grilled Watermelon Spheres
Molecular Gastronomy, Spherification, Grilled Watermelon Spheres