Watermelon and goat cheese not only taste great together, but look wonderful, too (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post)

Watermelon and goat cheese not only taste great together, but look wonderful, too (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post)

A delightful summer romance between watermelon and goat cheese

Here’s a delightful, nibble to pop in your mouth as you sip rosé on the backyard deck.

This refreshing finger food makes the most of watermelon’s affinity with soft, fresh goat cheese. The two not only look contrastingly beautiful together, the creamy, slightly salty chevre amplifies the fruit’s sweet juiciness.

The watermelon is cut into bite-size squares — an upgrade from a cracker delivery system — and topped with whipped goat cheese that is flecked with chopped fresh herbs and a sprinkle of lemon zest. The finishing touches of a honey-lemon dressing, flaky sea salt and shower of chopped basil bridge the sweet-savory elements in each bite.

Served as a snack or appetizer, it’s a treat you can add to the list of summer’s many simple pleasures.

Watermelon with herbed goat cheese whip

These refreshing bites, drizzled with a lemon-honey dressing, are easy to assemble and can surely be counted as one of summer’s simple pleasures. The cheese mixture, dressing and watermelon squares may be refrigerated in separate containers a day in advance.

4 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre)

2 tablespoons low-fat milk or whole milk

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves

½ teaspoon finely grated zest and 1 ½ teaspoons juice (from ½ lemon)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon honey, or more as needed

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Half a mini/personal-size seedless watermelon

Whisk or whip together the goat cheese and milk in a medium bowl until the mixture is creamy. Stir in the basil, mint, lemon zest and black pepper; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Use a fork to whisk the oil, lemon juice, honey and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt in a liquid measuring cup. Taste, and add more honey, as needed.

Cut away the rind from the watermelon, then cut the melon into 1-inch squares about ½ inch thick, until you have 24 squares of melon. (Reserve the rind and any leftover melon for another use.)

Arrange the melon squares on a platter. Dollop about 1 teaspoon of the whipped cheese on top of each piece of melon. Drizzle the dressing on top, and around the platter, then sprinkle with the remaining ⅛ teaspoon of salt, garnish with additional chopped basil and serve right away.

Makes 6 servings (24 pieces). Nutrition per serving: 90 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 135 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar.

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