Labneh is made by straining the liquid out of yogurt until it is thick and creamy, like soft cheese. It tastes like tart sour cream or heavily strained yogurt. Labneh is a typical breakfast dip in West Asia and East Mediterranean. It is usually eaten like hummus, spread on a plate, and drizzled with olive oil and za’atar. But we went – as per usual – a different direction.
Let’s make some labneh: The good news is that you don’t need any skills. The bad news is that it takes a day to strain the yogurt, so you’ll do need some patience. Just put greek yogurt (or any 10% fat yogurt) in a cheesecloth, tie it up with yarn or thin wire, and hang it in the fridge over a bowl for at least 24 hours. That’s it.
You could stop here. But we didn’t. Now add fresh watermelon, tangy pickled watermelon rinds, and salty preserved lemons. Pickled watermelon rinds have been a huge trend on TikTok and the culinary world. So, of course, we had to try it. And we loved it.
We used a mandoline to slice the watermelon. If you are too scared to use a mandoline, you could carefully cut the watermelon into very thin slices. The slices will turn out thicker, but that’s okay. Watermelon carpaccio is great but not great enough to lose your fingertips.
Watermelon Carpaccio With Labneh
- cheese cloth
- 1 kg yogurt 10% fat
- 10-15 g salt depending on how salty you like it
- 1/4 watermelon
- A few sprigs of mint
- Red and/or green chili sliced thin
- Peel of 1 preserved lemon if you can't find any, you can cut the peel of a lemon and cook it for 10 minutes in very salty water.
- 25 g white wine vinegar
- 25 g white balsamic vinegar
- 20 g Raki/Ouzo/Arak/Pastis
- 1 lime zest, and juice
- 70 g olive oil
- 10 g fine salt
- Flaky salt
- In a bowl, whisk the salt and yogurt together. Transfer into a cheesecloth, tie up with yarn or thin wire and hang in the fridge over a bowl for at least 24 hours. Don't throw away the water/whey for bread baking or smoothies)
- You have now made labneh. It's that easy 🙂
- You only need about a third for the recipe but trust us; you want to make this much. You can use it for a million things.
- First, carefully peel just the outer dark green peel of the watermelon and discard. Then cut off the white part with a tiny bit of red and dice.
- Mix the vinegars, raki, lime juice and zest, fine salt, and olive oil.
- Cover the watermelon rind cubies with the vinegar mix. Let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- Slice the red part of the watermelon very, very thin, ideally with a mandolin.
- To plate, spread the labneh on a large plate, as you would spread hummus.
- Arrange the watermelon slices on top. Then the pickled watermelon rind. You want about one piece for every bite. Drizzle some of the pickling liquid. Add mint leaves, chili, preserved lemon. Sprinkle some flaky salt and olive oil (of course). Eat. Repeat.
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