Posted Under: easy, fruit, gluten-free, salad, summer, vegetarian
I have a distinct childhood memory of being completely disgusted by my grandmother putting salt and pepper on an otherwise perfectly good slice of cantaloupe. This was before I baked my first batch of cookies and saw how salt can bring out sweetness, and long before a Belgian exchange student introduced me to the joys of dipping salty pretzels into a jar of this strangely delicious, sweet concoction called Nutella. Obviously, times have changed, and that grossed-out kid has turned into someone who loves few things more than a sweet/salty combination. Melon and feta? Yes, please.
In keeping with the too-hot-to-cook theme from my last post, this salad takes about 10 minutes to prepare and does not require even looking at the stove. If you’ve eaten dinner at my apartment in the summertime, you have probably been served a version of this dish at some point. It’s one of those summer regulars, so easy I can do it without thinking, which comes in handy when my brain has turned to mush from the heat.
I was reminded of it for the first time this year by something similar that appeared in Mark Bittman’s excellent list of 101 Simple Salads for the Season, a list I plan on referring to for inspiration throughout the summer. Inspired by Greek chopped salad, but with a watermelon twist, this salad’s ingredients vary, depending on what I have on hand. I’ve made it with and without both olives and onions, I’ve used cherry tomatoes or chopped up beefsteaks or heirlooms. The only constants for me are the watermelon, the cucumber, and the feta, all of which combine for the perfect sweetsavorycrisprefreshing bite. This salad is very forgiving, so if you don’t have something listed below, don’t worry, and the amounts included are only guidelines. Add more of something if you love it, less if you don’t. My only word of caution to you is that this salad does not keep well, so make only what you will eat that meal. It’s so easy to prepare that you can always whip up another batch if needed.
8 oz watermelon chopped into cubes (I admit, I usually buy this pre-cut–we just can’t go through a whole melon ourselves!),
1 large cucumber, peeled, and cut into chunks
couple of handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes OR 2 large tomatoes, chopped
½ of a red onion, diced
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt & fresh-ground pepper to taste
Prepare all of the salad ingredients and add to a large bowl. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss everything together, and serve immediately.
Yields: about 4 generous side servings
Time to make: 15 mins