This refreshing, beautiful salad is what summertime is all about. It requires absolutely no cooking. It’s loaded with all the good stuff: juicy watermelon, sun-drenched cherry tomatoes, snappy cucumbers, and fragrant basil. And it’s filling and savory enough to call dinner, thanks to big pieces of prosciutto nestled and tucked in the salad, and a swoosh-y bed of salted-lime yogurt that’s the perfect counterpoint to the spicy chile sauce that you drizzle over the top. The resulting combo of spicy-sweet-salty-savory flavors is habit-forming, so much so that I now have a hard time eating watermelon any other way!
About the chile sauce: Reach for a crispy-crunchy chili condiment that’s loaded with bits of fried chilies (and often garlic, onions, and other seasonings). Common brands include Lao Gan Ma Chile Crisp, Fly By Jing Sichuan Chile Crisp, and Chile Crunch. But if you don’t have a jar already, use whatever chile oil or sauce you have hanging out in your fridge, such as harissa, sambal oelek, or Sriracha. Or improvise by sprinkling chile flakes and drizzling olive oil and fresh lime juice all over your creation. No matter which way you go, you’ll have a simple, crazy-good dinner worth repeating until summer ends. —EmilyC
seedless watermelon cubes (about 1 1/2-inches in size) (cantaloupe can be substituted)
1 1/2 cups
cherry tomatoes, halved
thin rounds of Persian cucumbers (from about 2 cucumbers), or English cucumber cut into half lengthwise, then thin half moons
Combine the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a bowl. Add several big pinches of sea salt, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 2 teaspoons lime juice. Gently toss and set aside. (Taste before plating, adjusting salt and acidity as needed.)
In a small bowl, make salted-lime yogurt: Mix yogurt with 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and a few big pinches of flaky salt.
In a small bowl, mix the chile crisp with the remaining lime juice.
On a large platter or individual plates, spread an even layer of the yogurt, going close to the edges of the plate so it’ll peek out. Top with the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers (use a slotted spoon if there’s a lot of accumulated liquid at the bottom of the bowl). Arrange the prosciutto in and around the salad; same with the basil and/or mint. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds on top, then drizzle the chile crisp over the entire salad (including the yogurt at the edges). Serve right away with extra flaky sea salt plus extra chile crisp at the table.