watermelon feta salad
September 8, 2011
There was a time — and not too long ago at that — that a plate of watermelon and feta salad would have garnered the same reaction from me as my (former) reaction to fish tacos. No way, no how, that’s just plain weird.
I found my way on a hot and sticky night in July. Jeff and I had reservations at Barque, a delightful little barbecue joint in our neighbourhood that serves up a set menu, family style, on Sunday evenings. You can guess what was on the menu the night of our visit.
We were both reluctant to try the little rectangle of watermelon, about the size of a domino, topped with crumbly feta cheese, a few slivers of basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the mint juleps, we decided we’d give it a try. We threw back the neatly assembled little dominoes and the result was pure revelation.
Salty, cool, fresh. Just a few words to describe this wonderful combination of tastes and textures. I know this combo has been been around for about a million years now and I’m probably the last person on earth to try it, never mind blog about it. But I just had to, I had to share just in case there were a few folks out there that had yet to be converted.
This week in our CSA, along with a thousand pounds of tomatoes, we received a beautiful, perfectly ripe watermelon. Two, actually, since we volunteered to take in our neighbour’s share since they’re out of town for the week. One is pink, the other is yellow. Both are complete and utter perfection.
I knew immediately that I’d pair the melon with a salty feta and fresh basil from our rooftop garden. We enjoyed this salad when it was stinking hot, as a starter before bowls of cold, refreshing gazpacho and then on its own for a light snack, even after it got chilly. We do have a load of watermelon, after all.
A note about feta. I recently learned that much of the feta made in Canada is made with cow’s milk. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed it often over the years, but if you can find a feta made from sheep and/or goat milk it will be amazing.
Watermelon and Feta Salad
This is a very easy salad to scale up or down, depending on how many servings you want to prepare. I’ve set out the ingredients to serve 1, so just multiply the recipe for the number of servings you need.
1 cup watermelon, cubed
1 oz. feta, cubed
Handful of basil leaves, torn or sliced into ribbons
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Your best olive oil
Combine first four ingredients on a plate and drizzle with olive oil.