Watermelon Pickles

My New Orleans: The Cookbook We are honored that Chef John Besh has allowed us a sneak peak of four of his recipes from his cookbook, My New Orleans: The Cookbook(publishing Oct. 6, 2009). Recipes reprinted with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing.

WATERMELON PICKLES
From My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
Makes 1 quart
Between the dark green skin of watermelon and its pinky flesh lies an often discarded, pale green rind that’s full of possibilities. Seasoned by aromatic spices in a quick boil, these pickles can be served the same way as other pickles, but they are especially fine with the pork recipes in Chapter 15, Boucherie.

1 whole medium watermelon
1 cup of sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed

2-star anise
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cut the watermelon into manageable pieces. With a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer skin, trim away the pink flesh and save for granita or sorbet, and cube the white rind into 1-inch pieces.
2. Put 2 cups water, the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, star anise, fennel seed, peppercorns, and salt into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the watermelon rinds and gently boil until the rinds become tender, about 10 minutes, then remove the saucepan from heat.
2. Let the watermelon rinds and syrup cool to room temperature in the pot. Pack them into a sterilized jar or two, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.