About Watermelon and Feta Salad

I do not make idle threats. However, I am horrifying lazy. Actually, that’s not true at all; I’ve just been traveling a heck of a lot the last couple months so I haven’t had the opportunity to do much cooking. HOWEVER however, revenge is a dish best served cold, as is this one, and long ago I threatened Candice and Heather Anne with this recipe so here it is. NOT that I’m trying to get revenge on them for anything or nothing, it’s just that they were a little aghast at the idea even though it is SO GOOD.

(THAT SAID, we made this for Seth’s mother back in May and, while she didn’t hate it, she informed us that she wouldn’t be making it for herself any time soon. Also that she suddenly developed a love for kalamata olives. Silver lining?)

The key to this salad has a lot to do with balance, with playing off salty and sweet and sour, with freshness bouncing off heartiness. And if you’ve ever put salt on your apple or watermelon you’ll know exactly what I mean. (Do other people actually do this? Or is this another weirdo Vietnamese habit I think is normal?) All that nonsense said, I don’t have a whole lot of instruction for you on this one; just(ish) a list of ingredients. Which look like this:

And consist of:

  • A watermelon (the sweeter the better), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • A block of feta cheese, cut into smaller bite-sized chunks
  • Good quality kalamata olives, cut in half
  • Fresh mint, julienned
  • Fresh lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I said that the key to this dish is balance, and the key to balance is ratio. So basically you want a quarter to a third the amount of feta and olives as to the watermelon. Does that make sense? MATH IS HARD. What I mean to say is, you want mostly watermelon, with a bit of feta and olive mixed in to add a little salty accent.

After you've carried the two, put all that in a bowl, add a fair bit of the mint, a generous squeeze of lime juice, and a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil. (You can also add thinly sliced red onion to this, but I never do.)

Give it a gentle stir and an initial taste. My guess is that it’s going to need a bit more lime juice, and some salt and pepper. But they’re your taste buds, so you decide for yourself. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour or two until it’s nice and cold.

And voila. A refreshing salad for a hot barbecue.

(One small note: this salad doesn’t keep well. The salt eventually breaks down the watermelon and turns it into mush, so it’s best to make this the day you need it and not the day before. Consider yourself warned.)

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