A new way to watermelon

Phil Landers’ famous grilled watermelon (famous to us, anyway).


Watermelon is one of my all-time favorite fruits, especially for a summer on the Vineyard. It’s delicious in a fruit salad or just on its own. Usually my mom just cuts it up and lets us eat it down to the rind. But this summer, I spent two weeks with Times marketing intern Evelyn Landers’ family, and her dad had a special way to prepare it.

That’s right, folks, grilled watermelon. I was apprehensive at first; I had questions. Wouldn’t it, like, melt through the grill? What flavor does a grilled watermelon have? Who comes up with these things? 

Phil Landers, Evelyn’s father, ran me through the process of grilling it up, and it surprisingly has a pretty meaty texture and flavor at the end. 

Phil’s Grilled Watermelon

1 watermelon, cut into inch-and-a-half, steak-size pieces
1 cup sherry wine 
2 Tbsp. butter
olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste
crushed fennel seeds
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the steak-size pieces of watermelon on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour one cup of sherry wine over them, then put them in the oven for 2 hours. At the halfway mark, pull them out and douse them in butter, and pop them back in. 

When ready to grill, brush both sides with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and — hold for applause — crushed fennel seeds. They are the star of the show, really.

Grill on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes until you get grill marks, and serve hot. 

They have a surprisingly meaty texture, and look kind of like tuna. Who knew watermelon could be so versatile?