The trend is nothing new. Fruit and Cheese have long been kissing cousins. A traditional plate of fromage is likely accompanied by a lonesome bunch of grapes, some dried figs, or a few apricots. But, combining watermelon with cheese is something most people wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, right? Not!
I didn’t create this particular pairing and, in all honesty, I can’t remember where they first came together for me. I think it was Food & Wine or another food rag but, I was intrigued and had to try it out. It took a few combinations but I finally got the salad exactly where I wanted it-the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory. On top of that, it coudn’t be easier.
If you need a dish to bring to all those summer BBQ’s and don’t want something that’ll keep you in the kitchen, this is it! Another more subtle, but equally delicious combination is Gala melon (or cantaloupe), fresh mozzarella, and basil. In fact, stone fruit and strong cheeses would be fantastic too (think plums and gorgonzola, peaches and crescenza, etc….).
Watermelon and Feta Salad
1 medium seedless watermelon (about 4 pounds)
4 ounces good quality feta cheese (I love Trader Joe’s imported sheep’s milk feta packed in brine)
handful of fresh mint leaves
really tasty extra virgin olive oil
course salt (kosher is fine) and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the skin from the watermelon and cut it into chunks about 2-3 inches. Scatter the watermelon on a large serving plate and crumble the feta over the top, tucking it in between all the pieces. Stack the mint leaves on top of each other and roll them in a tight cylinder (like a…well, you get the pictures). Using your razor sharp chef’s knife, thinly slice across the cylinder to get thin ribbons of mint. Scatter the mint all over the melon. Drizzle the salad with the olive oil, just a thin layer, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Be sure the ingredients are distributed so you get a bite of each one when you taste it. Serve immediately.
Mmm…that’s definitely good!!