Watermelon Salad with Herbs and Feta
- 2-8 cups watermelon, cut into cubes
- Olive oil
- Rice wine, champagne vinegar, or lemon juice
- Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. feta, cubed or crumbled
- ¼ cup torn or chopped mint
Nothing helps beat the heat of summer quite like watermelon. It’s a seasonal staple at home and at picnics. (Remember those?)
The watermelon has been with us since ancient times, even if its wild progenitor was rather bitter. Fortunately, our ancestors took that melon and cultivated it for the sweetness it’s known for today.
Mark Twain described watermelon as “Chief of the world’s luxuries… when one has tasted it, [they] know what angels eat.” With all of this in mind, here’s a salad recipe that showcases this delicious fruit. This dish is sweet and crisp, creamy and salty. The kids might even enjoy it!
Here are three tips for picking the proper watermelon:
- It should be heavy for its size.
- The lighter color spot on a melon develops where the melon made contact with the ground as it grew. If it’s a creamy yellow, you’re on the right track.
- Give it a knock. It should make a hollow sound when ripe, brimming with juice. If it sounds rather dull, it’s probably underripe or overripe.
- Prepare the watermelon: Cut it in half and then into quarters. Take each quarter, cut into slices, and use a knife to cut the flesh from the rind. Once you’ve trimmed off the rind, cut the flesh into cubes. (If you have a melon baller lying around, this is a good time to break it out!)
- Place the watermelon cubes into a large bowl and salt the pieces. Toss to distribute the salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Add oil, vinegar, feta, and herbs to the melon. Toss to distribute. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired.
- Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.
Additions and Variations:
- Add in other vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, or shallot.
- Play with different cheeses — halloumi, paneer, mozzarella, and cotija would all work well.
- Top with toasted almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, or even sesame seeds.
- Mix and match other tender herbs, including parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, or tarragon.
- Kick up the heat with sliced jalapeño, dried chilies, crushed red pepper flakes, or gochugaru or Aleppo pepper.
- Toss in an acid such as a balsamic vinegar or lime juice.
- Throw in some sturdy leafy greens such as arugula, frisée, or radicchio.