Now that summer is officially here (aka I turned on the air conditioning and Memorial Day is almost here) its time to discuss watermelon. (To people in the Southern Hemisphere, I'm sorry. Maybe bookmark this recipe and make this instead.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I love watermelon plain. Or with a squeeze of lime. Or juiced and added to a mojito. But I absolutely adore watermelon with something spicy. My mom used to make “Fire and Ice Salsa” which used watermelon in place of tomato. (This was years before the fruit salsa became super trendy. I know because people used to think she was crazy for making it until they tried it.)
Then I saw a recipe for watermelon salad. These days, its not so unique. But that doesn’t mean its not delicious. If you can resist crunchy cool watermelon with pickled red onions, salty feta crumbles, and the kick of jalapeno mellowed by a touch of mint there might be something wrong with you.
And if you’re bringing this over to a Memorial Day BBQ, get out your melon baller because you’re going to want to use the rind as the bowl. Trust me, after a few watermelon mojitos, you won’t want to have to remember to bring your serving bowl home. And watermelon balls (hehehe) are so stinkin’ cute.
So on this glorious 3 day weekend that I will be spending at work (where I guarantee it will be mind numbingly slow) eat some watermelon. And have a drink and float in the pool for me. But please wear your sunscreen. Don’t be like my dance instructor who thought the water would protect his pasty white skin from burning to a lobster color. Again. Skin cancer isn’t a good look.
Normally you would get a recipe right here, but WAIT there’s more! Now how much would you pay? I’m hoping its $23.10.
When I was but a wee young lass in the first weeks of my culinary school training, I went to New Orleans for SOS’s annual conference. Also on the trip were two girls who took the trip far more seriously than I. They never had to be woken up to get their butts to general session, nor were they out till 3 in the morning (if they were, they hid it well).
For the last two years, they’ve been writing a cookbook.
Which is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Its full of recipes for family meals served at some of the world’s best restaurants. To give you some perspective, the forward is by Ferran Adrià. There are recipes from Ad Hoc, WD-50, and The Fat Duck. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
I highly suggest you do the same.
Now have some salad.
Watermelon and Feta Salad
One of the reasons I love this salad is it kind of makes its own dressing. I leave the seeds in the jalapenos, but that’s because we like it spicy round these parts (and even with the seeds its generally not very spicy (to us). That being said, we have friends who think black pepper is spicy and think this salad is crazy hot. If you don’t like spicy, leave out the jalapenos or seed them first. Leftover picked red onions are pretty much delicious on everything.
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled seedless watermelon
1/2 recipe pickled red onions (recipe here)
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 finely diced jalapenos
Big pinch flaky sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 packed cups arugula
Optional garnish: edible flowers
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil, arugula and flowers (if using). Give it toss and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt will pull some of the liquid out of the watermelon and give us the base for the dressing. Add the arugula, oil, and flowers and mix together. Check for seasoning and serve. The bulk of this salad will hold up for quite awhile, but the flowers tend to wilt fairly quickly.