Watermelon Ceviche with Scallop, Lobster & Calamari by Executive Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, New York.

Photography by Francesco Tonelli

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Serves 8


1 large seedless red watermelon, 7 to 8 pounds Remove all rind from the flesh of the watermelon; reserve the rind to make the pickles. Cut the flesh into 2-inch pieces. Puree the watermelon pieces in batches in a blender. Strain the pureed watermelon through 10 layers of cheesecloth. Allow to strain for 2 hours.



10 sheets gelatin
1/2 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups Watermelon Juice


Bloom the gelatin by placing the sheets in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, until pliable. Prepare four 9-by-13-inch plastic trays by coating with vegetable spray and then wiping away excess. In a small pot over low heat, warm half of the lime juice. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the gelatin and stir into the warm lime juice. When the gelatin has melted, remove from the heat and combine with the Watermelon Juice and salt. Do not cook the Watermelon Juice. Add the remaining lime juice. Strain the Gelée and then quickly pour about 3/4 cup into each prepared tray, yielding a 1/16-inch-thick Gelée. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator until set. Punch circles with a 6-inch ring cutter. Remove with an offset spatula when ready to serve.



1 cup tapioca pearls
1 cup yuzu juice


Bring the tapioca and 1 gallon water to a boil in a medium pot and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold water. Place in a plastic container. Pour the yuzu juice over the pearls, making sure the pearls are covered. Season with salt and marinate for 20 minutes. Then drain.


2 pounds red seedless watermelon
2 pounds yellow watermelon
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the flesh from the rind. Cut the flesh into 1-inch-by-1-inch-by-5-inch rectangles, then slice the rectangles into very thin (1-inch square) chips. Coat the chips in olive oil and neatly place on the prepared sheet tray. Bake for 3 hours.



1 cup Watermelon Juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (0.3 grams)
1 tablespoon Lemon Oil (see below)
1 teaspoon salt


In a small bowl, whisk together the Watermelon Juice, lime juice, and xanthan gum. Whisk in the Lemon Oil, whisking until the xanthan gum is completely dissolved. Season with the salt.


2 (1-pound) live lobsters
Watermelon Sauce
6 sea scallops
3 calamari tubes, cut into strips
1 cup sweet Maine shrimp, peeled


Remove the tails from the live lobsters, press the tails firmly against a flat surface, and insert a 6-inch skewer through each of the tails to keep them flat. Freeze for 1 hour. Once frozen, remove the shells from the tails and slice the meat into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Brush with the Sauce. Preheat a steam oven to 210°F. Place the scallops on a wire rack and steam in the oven for 2 minutes. Chill immediately. Once cool, punch with a 1-inch ring cutter and thinly slice. Marinate in the Sauce for 5 minutes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the calamari for 1 minute; transfer to a bowl of ice water, dry, and marinate in the Sauce for 5 minutes. Rinse and dry the shrimp. Reserve in the Sauce.



Marinated Shellfish
Watermelon Sauce
Watermelon Gelée
Dehydrated Watermelon
Pickled Watermelon Rind (see below)
16 dill blossoms
16 sprigs chervil
16 sprigs sea cress
16 leaves mint
16 sprigs bush basil


Alternating between the two, place lobster and scallop slices in a 5 1/2-inch circle in the middle of each plate. Place a few pieces of calamari and Maine shrimp in the middle of the lobster and scallop ring so that they barely overlap. Drizzle the seafood with the Watermelon Sauce and cover with the Watermelon Gelée. Place the Tapioca, Dehydrated Watermelon, and Pickled Watermelon Rind on top and garnish with 2 each of the dill blossoms, chervil, sea cress, mint, and bush basil.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to serve 8.


Makes 2 cups


20 lemons
2 1/2 cups canola oil


Zest the lemons using a microplane grater. Place the zest and oil in a saucepan over low heat. Bring the oil slowly up to 160°F. Pour the oil and zest into a jar and cover with its lid. Line the bottom of a large saucepan with a folded kitchen towel. Place the jar on top of the towel and add enough water to the pan to come three quarters of the way up the sides of the jar. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Carefully remove the jar from the water. Allow the oil to cool in the jar at room temperature before refrigerating overnight. The next day, strain the oil through cheesecloth. The oil may be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.



Rind from 1/4 of 1 large (7 to 8 pounds) red watermelon
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt


Remove and discard all of the pink flesh from the rind. Using a peeler, remove the green skin from the rind. Cut the rind into 2-inch-by-3/4-inch strips. Place in a sous vide bag. Bring the white balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Chill over ice. Pour over the rind and vacuum-seal. Alternatively, place the rind in a bowl. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the rind and cool to room temperature.

Read our featured article on Executive Chef Daniel Humm.

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