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Author Notes: When I was 9 my father took an offshore job in the Middle East. The neighbors in our Saudi village bravely welcomed us with glasses of mint tea and trays of watermelon. The flavors were soothing and elegant in the desert heat, and this recipe was inspired by my memories of their kindness. —TRISH MURPHY
- 5 cups cubed watermelon, well chilled
- 1/2 cup sheep feta, cut into slivers
- 1/2 cup strong green tea
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped spearmint leaves
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Angostura bitters
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Place the green tea over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by about half. Add the sugar and continue to boil until reduced by half again and syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Slice off the ends of the lemon and place them in a measuring cup with half of the mint. Muddle them with the butt of a table knife until bruised and fragrant. Pour the tea syrup into the measuring cup and set aside to cool completely.
- Juice the remaining lemon and put the lemon juice in a bowl with the vinegar and bitters. Strain the cooled syrup into the bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil, and season with salt to taste.
- Place the melon in a wide shallow serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the melon. Add the feta and the remaining mint, stir gently with a spatula, and serve immediately.