My favorite watermelon recipe
I have long been of the opinion that many, many fruits are best enjoyed without adornment. A perfect peach, seasonal strawberries, a ripe cantaloupe - eating them out of hand, savoring the juice, has always been the Platonic form of “fruit” for me.
I still feel that way, but I have mellowed my stance a bit.
One recipe that nudged me along was this one, which I first tasted working for a wedding caterer a few summers ago. When the chef gave me the recipe to begin compiling the dish I was so surprised - melon and cheese? Fruit and olive oil? I guess I was far more culinarily naive then; the very idea of a savory fruit salad was pretty much mind-blowing to me at the time.
Once I tasted it, something clicked. Something called, in technical terminology, my WowMyTasteBudsAreOfficiallyChangedForever switch. It got flipped. Hard.
Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad - adapted from Saveur magazine
3 cups loosely packed arugula (or mixed summer greens, as we received in this week’s Sol Flower Farm CSA box)
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup loosely torn mint leaves
1 2-lb piece of watermelon, cut into 1” cubes
20 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Up to 1 jalapeño pepper (or to taste), stemmed, seeded and julienned
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz (about 1/4 cup) feta cheese, crumbled (optional - remove if you don’t eat dairy)
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 limes, halved
Coarse salt and fresh pepper
1. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, parsley, and mint. Divide greens between 4 serving bowls or plates.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together watermelon, olives, jalapeño, and onion. Spoon the watermelon mixture, with its juice, evenly over the greens. Sprinkle each salad with some of the feta and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze 1 lime half over the top of each salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
To serve this family style, simply combine the greens in a big bowl, combine the juicy ingredients in another, and gently mix the two together.