Never has the Southland been quite so, well, southern. Next to join L.A.’s new wave of Dixie-themed restaurants (Hart and the Hunter, Willie Jane) is Roadside Eats—a casual, southern-style sandwich shop opening later this week at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas complex. Along with chef-partner David Northrop’s Carolina-style pulled pork, slow-cooked brisket, and Cajun-glazed shrimp po-boys, you’ll find heat-busting sides by City Tavern’s chef Jessica Christensen like this colorful watermelon and edamame salad. Mint, cucumber, and basil further cool off the sweet-and-salty mix—but worry not, there’s a little cayenne and Tabasco in there, too. This is the food of the south, after all.
Watermelon and Edamame Salad
(makes 9 side salad servings, tastes great the next day)
1 small seedless watermelon, red or yellow, small dice
2 cups edamame, shelled, thawed
1 English cucumber, small diced
1 cup pickled red onions, rough chop (recipe to follow)
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
¼ cup pickled red onion liquid
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 dash Tabasco
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or less if you don’t like spice
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Dice the watermelon, thaw and drain the edamame, and rough chop the pickled onion. Mix together with the herbs. Mix pickled onion juice, vinegar, sugar and remaining ingredients. Toss the dressing with watermelon and edamame and allow to marinate for a few hours before serving.
Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
Pickled Red Onions (makes plenty to save for sandwiches and salads later)
4 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
½ jalapeno, sliced
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
2 Tablespoons pickling liquid
¼ cup peeled, sliced ginger
6 large red onions, peeled and sliced thin
Mix all ingredients except red onions in a large, non-reactive pot and heat to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes to bring flavors together. Remove from heat, and cool for 30 minutes or until almost room temperature. Slice onions and put in a large heat-proof bowl or container. Pour the slightly cooled liquid over the sliced onions and let sit, cooled overnight for best flavor.
Roadside Eats, 6374 D Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, roadsideeats.com.