It’s a long running joke between my father and me, the purchasing of watermelon. I would always ask for it while grocery shopping when I was a kid, then forget it was in the refrigerator, where it would sit until someone threw it away. I don’t know why my parents didn’t insist that I eat it, or at very least tell me that I had to clean out the fridge to teach me a lesson. Now anytime I am shopping with Dad, he tries to sneak the biggest watermelon he can find into my cart.
These days, watermelon is available in little containers, pre-chopped. Now I buy it and there is no danger of it going bad because it’s a much smaller amount, I pay for it and I don’t waste food if I can help it, and because I know about this salad.
This salad is so good! The balance of the contrasting flavours of sweet and sour, tart and mellow with hits of saltiness… my mouth is watering thinking about it again. I made it for dinner and ate it ALL. Probably a good thing, as I don’t think it would keep all that well. And then I would have to throw it out.
This is how it goes.
Most of the ingredients.
Start with the red onion.
Slice it finely.
Cut and juice the limes.
Onions, after sitting in the lime juice.
I forgot to buy parsley, so I upped the quantity of mint.
Watermelon, feta cheese, black olives and mint.
All dressed and ready to eat.
Here’s the recipe source. If the quantities look a little odd, it’s because they’re converted from the British original by Nigella Lawson.
Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad
As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your summer table.
1 small red onion
3.31 lb. watermelon (sweet and ripe)
8.83 oz. feta cheese
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup pitted black olives
Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 1-1/2″ triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths are not my strong point).
Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices 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 taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.