Before the summer is over and all we want to eat is soups, stews and heavy pies, let me share with you one of my favourite fresh and summery dishes, Watermelon Salad. I love watermelons, particularly when they are ripe and juicy and are enjoyed somewhere on the beach in the afternoon sun. As 98% of watermelon is water, it is thirst-quenching and with its low calorie content a wonderful sweet snack. In addition, watermelon is a ‘superfood’ containing plenty of fibres, Vitamin A and C.
Whenever I see watermelon salad on the menu, I have to order it as I just adore this combination of sweet and savoury. I had a stunning Watermelon Salad recently at 10 Greek Street, a good one at 500 Restaurant (with smoked ricotta instead of feta) and a pretty disgusting and soggy one at Vinoteca Marylebone.
My first attempt to recreate this dish was done with the help of Nigella, whose lovely and very easy and straightforward recipe I have only very slightly adapted.
WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA AND MINT
Amount: 4-6 people as a starter
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- 1 red onion
- 3 limes
- 1.5 kg sweet, ripe (but not overripe) watermelon
- 250 g feta cheese
- Bunch fresh mint, chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 100 g pitted black olives
- Black pepper
- Peel and half the red onion and cut into very fine slices. Put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, which helps to make them softer and better digestible, while preparing the other ingredients.
- Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into chunks of about 3-4 cm. Cut the feta into pieces (about half the size of the watermelon chunks) and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Add chopped mint to the salad.
- Tip onions, along with the now pinkish lime juice, over the salad in the bowl. Add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and add more lime and possibly salt (the feta should have enough salt) to taste. The salad is now ready to serve.