when i think of the backyard summer dinners of my childhood, there are a few things that stand out in my mind...the (some how soothing) smell of burning insect repellent, bowls of summer fruits (always), persian cucumbers with salt, feta cheese, fresh herbs, warm flatbread fresh from the bakery (noonvayi), and often-watermelon. my grandpa used to painstakingly choose them at the store (or from the street vendors that piled them high on the back of their trucks), then throw them in to the pool (that was filled with freezing cold well water) to cool down before he ceremoniously cut in to them hoping to find the good one that was crisp and deep red inside. every time i make this salad, it takes me back (home) to those wonderful warm summer evenings spent outdoors-it combines many of the ever present items from those dinners all in one dish, and it's hard to believe the harmony between the sweetness of the watermelon and the salty feta cheese. it is quintessentially a summer salad, and demands one of those perfect watermelons my grandfather was always looking for.
small (red & ripe) watermelon- or about 2-3 cups, cubed
persian cucumbers, peeled, cut in half, then quartered
crumbled french feta cheese
fresh mint (or basil works well)
limes, juiced plus 1/2 tsp zest
sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
shallot, finely minced
extra virgin olive oil
raw honey (optional)
In This Recipe
assemble the cubed (cold) watermelon, sliced (i cube them in quarters) cold cucumbers, feta cheese and mint in a bowl. add the dressing and toss just before you serve.
for the dressing whisk together the olive oil, lime juice & zest, sea salt & cracked pepper, minced shallot, and honey until thickened.