Compressed Watermelon, Iberico Lomo, Manchego, and Green Almonds

Adapted by
June 2011
Yield: 24 Servings


Coffee-Cocoa Nib Oil: (Yield: 1 pint)
1 pint grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon espresso ground coffee
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, roughly ground
1 teaspoon cane sugar
Compressed Watermelon
Red and/or yellow seedless watermelon, cut into 24 1½-inches x 1½-inches cubes
1 vanilla bean, dried
Béchamel Sauce
¼ sweet onion, minced
½ teaspoon slivered garlic
1 tablespoon butter
⅛ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon half and half
1 small bay leaf
1 egg yolks
Manchego Mornay Sauce
½ cup shredded or crumbled Manchego cheese
1 small pinch cayenne pepper
To Assemble and Serve
24 slices green almonds or peach nuts
24 paper-thin slices Iberico lomo


For the Coffee-Cocoa Nib Oil:
In a small sauce pot, warm the grapeseed oil over medium to low heat. Do not boil. Add the coffee and cocoa nibs and let them steep for 1 hour. Strain through a coffee filter to remove all particles. Cool to room temperature.

For the Compressed Watermelon:
Lay out the watermelon cubes in an 8-inch x 11-inch cryovac bag. Add the vanilla bean and ½ pint of the Coffee-Cocoa Nib Oil. Compress the watermelon to the highest setting of the machine. Allow the cubes to marinate for 24 hours.

For the Béchamel Sauce:
In a sauce pan, sweat the onions and garlic with butter over low heat (do not burn the butter). Add the flour, and stir to form a roux. In a separate pot, heat the cream and half and half with the bay leaf until it just comes to a boil. Remove the bay leaf from the hot cream and add the cream mixture to the flour mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly with a whisk until slightly thickened. Mix the egg yolk with the flour-cream mixture. Cook until thickened. Remove from the heat.

For the Manchego Mornay Sauce:
Mix the cheese and cayenne pepper into the hot Béchamel Sauce and add to an electric Vitamix blender. Blend until smooth and pass through a fine meshed sieve. Put into a small squeeze bottle and keep warm in a bain marie at 60°C.

To Assemble and Serve:
Skewer the Compressed Watermelon with 24 metal cocktail picks. Put a dime-sized pool of Mornay Sauce on top of the Compressed watermelon. Top with the green almond and Iberico lomo. Serve at room temperature.