National Watermelon Day is Aug. 3, and while sitting outside in the summer sun enjoying a cold slice of juicy watermelon is a fine way to celebrate, Erika Lagerstedt, executive sous-chef for Snoqualmie Casino, offers a refreshing salad that takes it to the next level. Adding peaches or nectarines, lime, mint and coconut milk builds in extra flavor and creamy delight.

The coconut milk can be used as a base for the salad, or thinned to create a dipping sauce. “I had used this on a vegan dessert as a whipped cream replacement in a different preparation,” Lagerstedt says.  “I like how the coconut adds a nice light richness to the dish.”

You can also use this recipe as a jumping-off point for using other summer fruit. “You can use other melon or stone fruit,” Lagerstedt says. “I’ve used cantaloupe and pineapple. The dressing is really simple and makes any fruit refreshing for the summer.”

Make the watermelon salad at home, or enjoy it at Snoqualmie Casino’s signature steakhouse, Vista Prime Steaks & Seafood.

Watermelon and Nectarine Salad

Snoqualmie Casino Executive Sous-chef Erika Lagerstedt developed this recipe. 

2 to 3 peaches or nectarines
1 half watermelon
3 limes, juiced and zested
¼ cup agave syrup
6 basil leaves, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
6 mint leaves, chiffonade (cut into thin strips), plus 3-4 sprigs for garnish
Pinch kosher salt 
1 can (16 oz.) coconut milk 

Make the salad

A day before serving, pour coconut milk in a wire mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth. Place strainer over a bowl and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. This will drain excess liquid from the coconut milk, which will become thick, like cream cheese.

Wash produce and let dry on a towel.

Remove watermelon rind and cut melon into medium-to-large cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.

Halve peaches and nectarines and remove pits. Cut the fruit into wedges or cubes and place in mixing bowl with watermelon

Make the dressing

Reserve 1 tablespoon of lime zest and 1 tablespoon of agave syrup for the coconut cream.

Combine the remaining zest, lime juice, agave syrup, and mint and basil chiffonade in a bowl and pour over fruit. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Make the coconut cream

Remove strained coconut milk from cheesecloth and put in a small bowl. Using a spatula, mix in reserved 1 tablespoon agave and 1 tablespoon of lime zest; fold together until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve the salad

Spread the coconut cream on a serving plate and arrange the fruit on top of the cream. Alternately, thin out the coconut milk with lime juice and use as a dipping sauce for the marinated fruit. 

Vista Prime Steaks & Seafood is a farm-to-table dining experience. We partner exclusively with eight local, award-winning ranches for our premium beef. Our on-site organic vegetable garden supplies many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables in our dishes. Outdoor dining is available.