First I read about it on the Slow Travel food message board then I started seeing it in articles and on blogs. Watermelon salad is clearly the hip salad this summer. It has a very appealing sweet and salty contrast taste thing going for it. And what could be more refreshing on a warm summer day?
Now, by the time I got around to trying it I had already read a number of recipes for it. Some recipes called for mint, some for pinenuts, some for balsamic vinegar and one even called for grilling the watermelon! But the person I first heard about it from (Cheryl from Italian Excursion) said that the one she tasted had just these ingredients: watermelon, feta cheese, black olives, basil and olive oil. That sounded good enough to me. I thought of it as a Greek salad with watermelon instead of cucumber and tomatoes.
So there really was no recipe. I picked up a small round seedless watermelon (personally I think the seeded ones have a little more flavor, but I do appreciate the labor savings with the seedless). I also picked up some sheep's milk feta cheese imported from Israel and some pitted Kalamata olives (saved some labor with those too). I already had some fresh basil from my Fairview Gardens produce.
Then I picked out a bowl and started putting cubed watermelon in it. I used about half of my small round watermelon. I added some cubed feta (about 3/4 of the package) and then a small handful of olives, cut in half. I tore up the basil and sprinkled it in. I thought a very small amount of finely chopped red onion wouldn't hurt and then I drizzled on a little olive oil. That's it. It didn't need salt because of the salty feta and the very salty olives. I probably could have added some pepper, but I didn't think it needed it. It was very simple and it was absolutely delicious. My husband gave it a funny look when I brought it out but with one bite he was sold.
It really is the perfect summer salad. It's light and refreshing but the flavors are bold. As an extra bonus it's gorgeous looking and could be a real conversation starter at parties. And you can feel good about eating all that watermelon because it's a good source of lycopene which does all sorts of great things for the cardiovascular system and protects against cancer. Please do yourself a favor and make this salad!