Young coconuts are very different from the mature brown-husked specimens you may be familiar with. The edible interior flesh is tender, thin and custard-like, with the purest coconut flavor imaginable. Seek them out at Asian markets or in health-food stores that cater to raw foodists. Keep young coconuts refrigerated until just before serving.
I’m not generally a big fan of gimmicky bowls made from food, but in this case it makes perfect sense. The coconut flesh is so delicate that it is a pleasure to scrape it out with a spoon.
A simple salad with a squeeze of lime makes the perfect complement. If you don’t have watercress, any other small, flavorful green such as mache or arugula would be equally delicious.
The coconut water inside the shell is a delicacy in it’s own right - you can also find coconut water online. Serve it in a glass on the side of the salad. If you happen to have a seltzer bottle or a whip-cream maker with seltzer cartridges, you can carbonate it for extra fun.
Young Coconut Salad
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
- 2 young coconuts (not mature coconuts!)
- 2 limes, halved
- 1 cup watercress leaves, cleaned and dried
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- flaky sea salt
- Open the coconut tops and reserve the coconut water. If you are going to carbonate the coconut water, do so now. Put the seltzer bottle or plain coconut water in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- Cut the coconuts in half lengthwise. Immediately rub the cut shell surface with a lime half to prevent discoloration.
- Place a tight, fluffy handful of watercress in each coconut half. Top with a few pomegranate arils. Squeeze in a bit of lime juice and top with a few flakes of sea salt.
- Serve immediately, with the coconut water in glasses on the side.