Still too hot to cook, or eat anything too heavy or complicated; fruits and veggies with lots of water are very appealing right now. A few years ago, Nigella Lawson popularized watermelon-feta salad to the point of ubiquity; you could hardly go to a barbecue or potluck without the dish making an appearance. Now that the novelty has worn off, it’s worth revisiting the savory-sweet-pungent salad as a satisfying hot-weather option.
For the life of me, I can’t remember the ingredients or proportions of the original recipe (though I found it here on Nigella’s website). Since the salad is so simple, it is best to use only the freshest watermelon and full-fat, mild feta cheese. My personal version, based on the ingredients I keep on hand or grow in the backyard, goes like this:
Watermelon Feta Salad, after Nigella Lawson
- 3 cups watermelon, de-seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2-3 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- as many chopped, quality black olives as you’d like (don’t bother with the tasteless, canned ones)
- juice of 1 lime
- a generous handful of mint, roughly chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
Place watermelon, feta, and red onion in a large bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice and add mint. Toss gently to combine, then add salt & pepper to taste.
So what to eat with the watermelon-feta salad? How about a meaty hummus? Start with a base of (homemade or storebought) hummus, spread on a plate. Buy a few merguez sausages (available locally at Whole Foods and Cochon Butcher), remove them from their casings, and cook in a skillet, breaking up the sasusage as it browns. Toss in a handful of pine nuts to toast lightly. When the sausage is cooked through, spread the merguez over the hummus. Serve warm, with lots of pita.
More hot-weather cooking & eating to come….