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Author Notes: I made a different version of this salad for an early summer party I catered: watermelon with crispy bacon, cilantro, and a balsamic maple dressing. I had a large amount of leftover cubed watermelon at the end of the evening, so I threw this together with what was left of it. I chopped mint from my garden, and added a generous sprinkling of fleur de sel, but it didn't seem quite finished. My friend Daniel had the brilliant idea to add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, and it felt complete. We set the dressed watermelon on the buffet table. Overheated, boozy party-goers surrounded the table and devoured it all in less than a minute. People inhaled the stuff.
The trick with a recipe this simple is to buy the best ingredients available. Served out of season, this dish would be 'meh' at best. Served at the height of summer with melon from your local farmers' market, garden-fresh mint, fleur de sel, and good quality olive oil, it's irresistible.
This dish works wonderfully as a fresh first course salad, as a side dish to accompany summer barbecue, or as a light dessert or palate cleanser. —Mary Allain
small seedless watermelon
tablespoons chopped fresh mint
teaspoon fleur de sel
cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cube the watermelon into large, bite-sized chunks. Transfer to serving dish(es). I like gently piling the watermelon into little mountains rather than serving in a bowl. It's a gorgeous dish, and you see more of it this way.
- Generously salt the cubed watermelon.
- Sprinkle the chopped mint over the watermelon.
- Finish the dish with a liberal glug of olive oil.