Watermelon and Feta Salad

By Dana Ferrante ’17

Nothing tastes more like summer than a bite into the juiciest, pinkest, piece of watermelon and having that sweet pink liquid drizzle all down your face and hands. But watermelon is more than just a sticky finger food: try this simple recipe for watermelon salad, and turn a summer snack into a refined, fork-worthy dish.

But first, what makes or breaks any watermelon salad is, of course, the watermelon. Picking a watermelon is always a gamble. You see a flawless, green speckled watermelon skin and you think “This is going to be the best watermelon I will ever have.” Soon after, you discover the watermelon to be subpar, not nearly as mouthwatering as you had suspected. Here’s how to prevent any further watermelon-induced disappointment:

Step 1. Find a watermelon. Pick it up. Is it heavy? It should feel heavier than you would have suspected for its size. Is it shiny? It shouldn’t be if it’s ripe.

Step 2. Turn the watermelon around until you find the field spot, or the side of the watermelon touching the ground as it was growing. Just like this pictures shows, the field spot should have a yellow, creamy color. The darker the yellow, the better, since more time on the vine means more time to ripen.

watermelon field spot
A cream-yellow field spot.

Step 3. Knock on the watermelon rind with your knuckles. You shouldn’t hear a dull thud, but a lovely hollow sound that means your melon skin is firm and ripe. It’s almost as if your knuckles bounce off the rind when the skin is good and ready.

Now that you know how to pick the perfect watermelon, it’s time to learn how to turn that giant green melon into a succulent salad.

You’ll need…

-a cutting board

-a chef’s knife

-a salad bowl

Serves: 6-8

  • 1 small seedless watermelon (or half of a large seedless watermelon)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 ½ cups of Greek feta cheese (not pre-crumbled)
  • ½ cup of basil (or mint)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime (or ½ lemon) OR 1 tablespoon of lime (or lemon) juice
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Cut watermelon into 1-inch cubes, or use a melon baller to make bite size pieces. Slice red onion into half moons. Slice the block of feta in ½-inch cubes. Chiffonade basil (or mint). Then, put all these ingredients into your salad bowl.

Drizzle EVOO, lime (or lemon) juice and balsamic vinegar, and then toss. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper to your liking.

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