For a fast and easy warm-weather salad on a hot summer day, it doesn’t get better than watermelon feta. This salad has so few ingredients, you want each to be the best it can be.
The sweeter the watermelon, the more amazing the salad. You can use large, baby, red or yellow watermelons. Seedless watermelons are easy to find these days, and they make the eating experience so much easier. If you can chill the watermelon before cutting it, your salad will be good to go. If you start with a room-temperature melon, chill the salad before serving. And if you prefer to make balls with a melon baller instead of dicing the melon, go for it.
Get the best feta you can find, preferably fresh and not packaged. You can choose from French feta, Greek feta, Bulgarian feta, Lebanese feta. Dice or crumble the feta — if you choose crumbling, don’t crumble it too finely. The pleasure of this salad is in the bites of different flavors, so you don‘t want them to blend together too much.
Add some mint and red onion: The contrast between the juicy, sweet melon and the crunchy, sharp, peppery onions (not to mention the crumbly, creamy feta) is terrific. Fresh mint ties everything together for some summertime bliss. Mint oxidizes and turns dark quickly after it is cut or torn, so add it just before assembling and serving the salad.
Finally, use a straightforward dressing of olive oil, balsamic or red wine vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper, if desired. Taste the feta to see how salty it is before you add salt to the dressing.
You can cube or ball the melon up to two days ahead of time. Drain off any juice that might have collected in the bottom. You also can cube or crumble the feta two days ahead of time, and store all of the components in the fridge. Leave the assembly for right before you serve the salad. Garnish with some additional fresh mint sprigs if desired.
Watermelon Feta SaladServes: 6.
3 tablespoons olive oil2 tablespoons good balsamic or red wine vinegar½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to tasteFreshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
6 cups cubed or balledwatermelon, chilled½ cup thinly sliced red onion1½ cups diced or crumbled feta cheese
cup whole mint leaves
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, if using. In a large shallow bowl or serving platter, distribute the salad ingredients evenly. Spread a layer of half of the watermelon cubes or balls, then sprinkle half of the onions over it, then the feta. Tear half of the mint leaves into large pieces, and sprinkle over the feta. Repeat with another layer of watermelon, onions, feta and mint. Shake or stir the dressing to re-combine, and pour it evenly over the salad. Serve chilled.
Katie Workman writes for The Associated Press.