Shrimp and Watermelon Rind Salad (Goi Tom Vo Dua Hau)

It's about the 4th of July! That means red, delicious watermelons are everywhere. So here I have a perfect use for the watermelon rind that is sure to please. I'm thanking my Vietnamese roots for teaching me to make the most out of our natural resources and cut down on waste. So comes to mind the watermelon rinds, as the taste and texture are pretty close to the cucumber. This quasi-Vietnamese salad, "Goi Tom,"  will make us all champions for using 90% of the watermelon. (Let's save the 10% rough outer rinds for the deer.)  For the shrimp part, I have some cocktail shrimps left over from a party that are just perfect. And once again, I'm reaching for my bowl of Nuoc Mam Pha, Vietnamese dipping sauce as a dressing and bringing everything together nicely. Make this soon, before the watermelon season ends!

My Vietnamese rau ram and mints are just buried under all the shrimps!

My Vietnamese rau ram and mints are just buried under all the shrimps!

Use the portion of the rind that's pinkish-red to white, so it still has the nice watermelon flavor, but firm in texture and has a hint of sweetness.

Use the portion of the rind that's pinkish-red to white, so it still has the nice watermelon flavor, but firm in texture and has a hint of sweetness.

RECIPE for 4-5 servings

10-12 wedges of watermelon, just the pink-rind part, cut in triangles of 1/4-inch thick by 2-inch wide. Makes about 4 cups.
1 lb cocktail shrimp, if using large then split the shrimp in half
1 handful of mints, rough chopped
1 handful of Vietnamese corriander, "rau ram", rough chopped
1 handful of roasted peanuts, crushed
1/2 cup of Vietnamese dipping sauce, Nuoc Mam Pha

In a large platter, toss all the ingredients together gently. Add the dipping sauce at serving time.