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A Crisp, Tangy Watermelon Salad for Sticky Summer Nights

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As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some good-as-gold recipes. Today, we're revisiting a bold watermelon salad perfect for summertime cravings.

Photo by James Ransom

One of my very favorite summer treats is a simple wedge of watermelon. Ideally, it's filled with ruby red juice that I drain, vampire-style, before crunching the crispy leftovers like ice. It’s something I look forward to every year, especially in July and August, when the heat lingers from scorching days into humid, sticky nights.

But man cannot live on watermelon alone, and in a search for new ways to bulk up the summer fruit into a full-on feast, I rediscovered this gem of a salad.

Back in 2009, Food52 community member Loli won one of our earliest contests, Your Best Watermelon Recipe, with the perfect mix of melon, goat cheese, pistachios, and lemon verbena.

Another No-Cook Summertime Treat

“I wanted an interesting ingredient and to me summer involves verbena,” she shared in her recipe note. “Half of my family is from the south of France in Cannes and every summer at my grandparents' villa we would have verbena tisane fresh from the garden after dinner. We grow it here in Westchester and the tradition continues.”

It’s worth it to seek out the lemon verbena, which adds volumes to the citrus-y vinaigrette. You want a bright dressing to cut through the tangy goat cheese and sweet melon. But if you’re in a pinch, it’s A-OK to substitute with lemongrass or lemon zest.

As for cutting the watermelon (without losing a finger), don’t succumb to the siren song of pre-cut containers. Instead, check out our handy guide to slicing and dicing to master your melon.

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Verbena Infused Vinaigrette

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Verbena Infused Vinaigrette

loli loli
Serves 4
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh Verbena Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons red vine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt
  • 1 dash Fresh Pepper
Go to Recipe

What's your favorite way to eat watermelon? Any recipes you'd like to share in the comments below?

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Watermelon, Community