Today is National Watermelon Day, and while we let some of these faux holidays go without acknowledgment, we think this iconic summer fruit deserves a spotlight. While we might be more familiar with eating our slices of watermelon freshly sliced or blended into juice, this recipe from the iconic Cafe Gratitude’s executive chef Seizan Dreux Ellis has another take: bake it, and let it stand in for raw tuna in a poke bowl.
“Watermelon is the perfect replacement because (once lightly cooked) it visually looks like raw tuna, has the same mouthfeel as raw tuna, and absorbs the poke marinade well,” Dreux Ellis tells mindbodygreen. “Cooking the watermelon in the oven reduces its water content, which makes it less crunchy, less sweet, and more soft, giving it the same texture as raw fish.”
This recipe gives you a full guide to making the poke bowl as it’s served at the L.A. café, but the watermelon poke itself is pretty versatile: “You could chop the watermelon poke up and add it to a sushi roll, top the poke on a green salad, or use it as a replacement for tuna tartare,” suggests Dreux Ellis.
For the watermelon poke (makes 3 cups)
To make the watermelon poke: