Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Watermelon Pickles

Melons have been consumed for over 4,000 years. Until recently most of us have only been exposed to the three most common melons; watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydews. The two main classes of melons are the muskmelons and watermelons.

Most of us think of a watermelon as a huge green stripped oval fruit with pink flesh and lots of little black seeds. Watermelons are grown in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A few years ago square watermelons became quite popular in Japan.

The flesh of watermelons can range from white to a deep red, with newer varieties being prized for their deep gold and bright orange colors. Some watermelon varieties have seeds that are green or red in colour. In many cultures the seeds are roasted and eaten as a snack.

The rind is also used in a wide variety of preparations but most commonly is served pickled.

The muskmelon family includes cantaloupes, honeydews, casaba, Crenshaw, Juan canary, and Santa Claus melons. Muskmelons can be further sub-grouped into those with smooth skins like the honeydew and those with a netted skin like the cantaloupe. Muskmelons have hollow seed filled centers rather than seeds dispersed throughout the flesh. Most varieties of muskmelons come into season during the late summer and early-mid fall.

There are some general things to remember when choosing any of the melons in this family that will ensure you get a great melon. Melons should be heavy for their size and while there is no real way to help you know this at first, the more you try different melons and compare them, the easier it is to judge their relative weight. The melons should always be fragrant when ripe. If you sniff the skin and can smell the flavor of the melon it should be perfect for eating. Most ripe melons in the muskmelon family are slightly soft at the blossom end and should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Melons will ripen further at room temperature, but there is a limit as to how much they will ripen. The sweetest and most flavorful melons are those picked ripe from the vine and eaten relatively quickly.

One safety note when working with melons is to always wash the exterior surface well with soap and water right before cutting. While you don’t eat the skin, the skin will be touching your knife and cutting boards. The skin is often dirty, and contaminated with bacteria which have been associated with cases of salmonella and e-coli poisoning in consumers.

Try this week’s recipe to preserve some of this year’s watermelon harvest for a spicy refreshing treat.

 

Southern Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Ingredients:

1 watermelon

5 cups water

2 tbsp Salt, divided

1 tsp pickling spice

3 tbsp sliced fresh ginger

2 whole cloves

2 whole allspice berries

1 half cinnamon stick

1 cup sugar

1 cup white vinegar

Method:

Wash the melon well and pat dry. Peel the outer green layer from watermelon rind using a vegetable peeler. Remove the interior flesh of the watermelon for another use. Cut the peeled rind into 1/2-inch pieces. Bring the water and one tbsp of the salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinds to the boiling water. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the rinds and place them into a in a large bowl.

Make a sachet containing the pickling spice, ginger, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon out of cheesecloth. Place the sachet, remaining salt, sugar, and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over rinds and let them rest until they cool to room temperature. Cover and chill the rinds for at least 8 hours before serving. Yield: five cups.

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