I’ve had watermelon and feta salads before but never one this refreshing and unusual. My friend Julie Logue-Riordan, a Napa Valley cooking teacher, brought it to a potluck at my house and it was the hit of the evening—cool and crunchy, sweet and minty. With tomatoes and watermelon both at peak flavor, now’s the moment. If you can get tomatoes in multiple colors—well, wow.
My favorite fetas are made entirely or mostly with sheep’s milk. Greek feta is about 30 percent goat’s milk but reliably good; French and Israeli fetas are typically 100 percent sheep’s milk. Try to buy feta packed in brine. If it’s not in brine and you’re not using it right away, make a brine for it using 3 tablespoons sea salt per 1 quart of cold water. Stir into the salt dissolves, then add the feta, making sure it is submerged.
Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad
Serve with grilled lamb or burgers.
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon Marash or Aleppo chili, or more to taste
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ small red onion, shaved or sliced paper thin
- 3 cups peeled and cubed watermelon, seeded if necessary
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, cubed like the watermelon
- 4 radishes, shaved or sliced thin
- Fresh mint leaves
- 6 ounces feta, preferably Greek, French or Israeli
- 3 to 4 ounces baby arugula
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, honey, chili and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the olive oil. Let stand 10 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Put the red onion in a small sieve and rinse briefly under hot water. Shake well and pat dry on paper towels.
Put the watermelon, tomatoes, radishes and red onion in a bowl. Add as many mint leaves as you like, tearing them into small pieces if they are large. Add half of the feta and just enough of the dressing to coat the salad lightly; you may not need it all. Toss gently and taste.
Put a tuft of arugula on each of 4 salad plates. Divide the salad among the plates. Top each salad with some of the remaining feta. Serve immediately.
For other summer produce ideas see my summer recipes>
from the American Cheese Society
Thursday, Sept. 20
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Trefethen Family Vineyards
SIX SEATS LEFT
Which cheeses floated to the top in the 2018 American Cheese Society competition? I’ll be scouting out seven category winners to present to you. This popular class is your opportunity to discover what the experts consider the epitome of American cheesemaking.