Watermelon sandwiches are late-summer treat

Watermelon sandwiches make a memorable meal.

When Joani Deuel's two grandkids, Hunter and Parker, come to visit in Dublin, California, they've learned to expect the unexpected from a grandmother who absolutely loves to have a surprise up her sleeve. The latest caper appeared at lunchtime when she said, "Come and get your watermelon sandwiches!"

"I didn't think it was really true," 12-year-old Hunter later told me. "Grandma invited us over for soup and sandwiches, but watermelon sandwiches? I was thinking grilled cheese."

I tasted Joani's talked-about creation on a recent visit to the West Coast, and just like her grandkids, I gave the innovative recipe an enthusiastic thumbs up. Served with zucchini soup and a simple bowl of fresh fruit topped with yogurt, watermelon sandwiches were memorable and definitely worth repeating.

Now, back on my own turf in Minnesota, our family has already made watermelon sandwiches for our neighborhood National Night Out potluck and family suppers, and I'll be serving them up next week for a mom's back-to-school get-together.

Try this simple, easy-to-prepare recipe with your kids, and get ready for those surprised looks from your guests when you serve a curious platter of watermelon sandwiches.

Here's what you'll need for 8 open-faced sandwiches:

4 ciabatta sandwich rolls sliced in half

1 handful of fresh mint stripped from the stems and chopped

1 8-ounce tube goat cheese

8 thin slices of chilled watermelon with seeds and rind removed

Cracked pepper and salt to taste

Assemble in 3 easy steps:

1. Crumble cold goat cheese in a bowl. It works best chilled. Lightly combine with chopped mint.

2. Brush both sides of the sliced ciabatta rolls and grill or toast lightly.

3. Spread the cheese and mint mixture on the cut side of each ciabatta half. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Cut watermelon slices in triangles and stack 2 triangles on each half. (For a fun twist, Joani suggests letting kids cut the watermelon into triangles with kitchen scissors instead of with a knife. When assembled, you may wish use the scissors to cut the sandwich half in half again for smaller portions.)

Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." (c) 2019 Donna Erickson. Distributed by King Features Synd.

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