Why This Recipe Works
- Sweet watermelon, salty feta, and mint are a conventional pairing.
- Adding a staunch dose of chopped lemon zest enhances the fragrant flavors within the watermelon.
- Crumbling the feta over the pinnacle in space of tossing it along with the remainder of the salad provides a extra attention-grabbing executed texture and taste.
I know, I know. Yet another watermelon, feta, and mint salad recipe. Attain we need one? The truth is, no longer indubitably, but I’ve obtained a staunch explanation for sharing one with you as of late. In so much of solutions, the watermelon, feta, and mint salad resembles a conventional Caprese—each juxtapose a candy, watery fruit with a single herb and a creamy cheese (still in one case, interesting within the diversified). Essentially the vital distinction is that, whereas or no longer it is easy (and all too widespread) to earn overzealous and f*&okay up a Caprese salad, a watermelon, mint, and feta salad is much extra forgiving when it involves riffing and improvising.
But earlier than that you might perchance earn that, or no longer it is a will deserve to be pleased to connect the muse.
Every lengthy-lasting, properly-liked dish (or TV repeat or song or actor, or the rest, indubitably) goes by a few certain phases: its introduction, its preliminary burst of standing, the backlash, and within the slay its acceptance into the cultural lexicon. I put no longer need any thought when and where the watermelon, feta, and mint salad change into as soon as created (Google Traits recordsdata appear to counsel the summer season of 2004), but it completely change into as soon as properly into its preliminary section of standing when I first encountered it at a restaurant I worked at help in 2005.
There, we’d lend a hand a carefully spaced array of a half of dozen perfect cubes of watermelon in a easy lemony dressing, topped with crumbles of creamy feta cheese and a chiffonade of mint. Indubitably, we’d additionally over-gussy the plate (as change into as soon as the vogue at the time) with lychees, brûléed muskmelon, and with out doubt a half of dozen diversified parts that destroy out me for the time being.
Since then, watermelon and feta salads with mint be pleased had their moment of backlash and be pleased since advanced to change into a staple summertime dish at my space (and, no question, at a entire lot of your places as properly), and I’ve realized a few issues when adapting that recipe for home use. One: You’re going to earn rid of pretty mighty all of the extraneous ingredients. Two: The fantastic of the watermelon and, extra severely, the feta is of excessive importance. And three: A microscopic bit zest goes a lengthy manner.
Easy the manner to Clutch the Most Flavorful Watermelon
True because the first step to pouring a sizable glass of wine is finding a sizable wine, the first step to a sizable watermelon salad is finding a sizable watermelon. When my wife, Adri, and I lived in Harlem, I bought my watermelons from my watermelon man, an older gentleman who’d park his pickup on a nook, its cargo mattress overflowing with watermelons he’d shipped up from his household farm in Georgia. He’d situation up a folding chair below a itsy-bitsy tent and man a turkey fryer rigged to boil peanuts, having a leer up now and again to order his potentialities that, sure, all he change into as soon as promoting as of late change into as soon as peanuts, watermelons, smoked turkey necks, and collard greens.
His watermelons were great. Dense, richly colored, deeply fragrant, and candy. A a ways cry from the everyday watery, bland supermarket watermelon. I’ve yet to web my watermelon man in my recent home in California, but there are aloof solutions to locate first charge specimens. The absolute best manner by a ways is to hit your local farmers market within the summertime, and gape vendors with opened watermelons who will enable you to exhaust a taste earlier than you earn.
Is the supermarket your absolute best dedication? Right here are a few tricks to serve produce the absolute best of it:
- See for watermelons that indubitably feel somewhat heavy for his or her size. Watermelons that grow too hastily or sizable can prove with hollow cracks and crevices, making them indubitably feel lighter. These watermelons in overall additionally be pleased a extra watered-down taste. Dense watermelons ought to aloof taste sweeter and be pleased a greater aroma.
- See for melons that repeat indicators of a intellectual destroy at the stem. Watermelons, admire all fruit, are hooked up at one slay to their guardian vegetation. After they attain peak ripeness, the stem will usually automatically detach, leaving a intellectual crater within the help of. When the melons are picked less ripe, the stem usually refuses to change into self reliant from cleanly, leaving within the help of section or all of itself at the attachment internet page. This does no longer indicate all watermelons with some stem hooked up might perchance well most likely perchance no longer be precise—many aloof are—but a intellectual stem crater is usually a actually precise signal.
- Rap the watermelon with your knuckles. Watermelons that sound very hollow…potentially are. Preserve a ways from ’em.
- See for smaller sorts. Smaller melon sorts usually (but no longer constantly) be pleased extra concentrated taste.
I are alive to to retain issues easy for the diner by dicing the watermelon into chew-size cubes, rather than the cheffy-having a leer slabs, stacks, or rounds that appear to be widespread and require using an additional utensil at the dinner desk.
What’s the Easiest Feta for Salad?
After the watermelon, the fantastic of the feta is basically the most variable component. I bought every produce of feta accessible at my local Safeway and Whole Meals to leer how mighty variation there indubitably is. Seems, there might perchance be a lot.
Feta is a recent cheese that is made by soaking pressed curds in a salty brine. The bottom-shelf brands, made with cow’s milk, on the entire emphasize the brine taste over the rest. They be pleased an inclination to be pleased a actually dry, crumbly texture, and saltiness with out mighty tang. What you the truth is favor to gape is sheep’s-milk feta, whether or no longer home or imported from Greece or Bulgaria,* which ought to aloof be pleased a mighty creamier texture and a taste that balances saltiness with the characteristic funk of sheep’s milk. That creaminess is famous! It be what presents you a texture that contrasts with the crisp watermelon, making it taste the entire extra refreshing.
*Technically, Bulgarian feta is known as sirene; it might perchance be pleased a rather creamier texture than Greek feta, but there might perchance be a entire lot of variation among merchandise, so or no longer it is hard to generalize.
The Secret Ingredient in a Mountainous Watermelon Salad
After getting a staunch watermelon and precise feta, you are practically done right here! All you be pleased obtained to earn is toss that watermelon with some lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and chopped mint, then sprinkle it with feta, and likewise you might perchance well most likely perchance need yourself a sizable microscopic salad. But within the occasion you might perchance well most likely perchance most likely be alive to to be pleased to indubitably dress that salad up, honest undergo in tips that you have to no longer fully dressed till you are zestfully dressed.
Provided that it appears to be like so glaring, it took me an awfully lengthy time to set up out that chopped lemon zest change into as soon as honest what my watermelon, feta, and mint salad change into as soon as hunting for.
At that same restaurant, help in 2005, one amongst my each day jobs for the foremost a entire lot of months I worked there change into as soon as to zest citrus fruit and cut it into a pretty powder. I’ll perchance well most likely perchance zest strips off the fruit with a peeler, carefully plight off and discard the pith, then rock my knife for a staunch Half-hour.** The resulting citrus dust change into as soon as historical as a condiment for assorted dishes.
** A few weeks into this project, I seen that I’ll perchance well most likely perchance scuttle it up by taping together three knives parallel to every diversified and rocking them all together.
For my salad, I’m no longer going to demand that anybody cut their zest that beautiful. The truth is, I decide the moister texture and itsy-bitsy bursts of taste that you earn from zest that is finely chopped, but no longer fully pulverized.
A microscopic bit bit tossed into the bowl and sprinkled on high of the executed salad no longer absolute best provides a lemony taste of its hold, but additionally brings out the floral notes within the watermelon and the tanginess of the feta, making every of these ingredients practically taste extra of themselves.
The absolute best closing demand is how to incorporate the feta. Some recipes I’ve seen disclose adding all the issues to a bowl and tossing all of it together. I web that doing this—especially with a high fantastic, still-and-creamy feta—results within the feta dominating the entire dish, coating the watermelon with its saltiness. As a replacement, I decide to sprinkle feta over the dressed watermelon honest earlier than serving, giving you additional distinction within every chew.
Oh, honest, help to the leading demand. Attain we indubitably favor one more watermelon, feta, and mint salad recipe? Like I mentioned, no longer indubitably. I’ll perchance well most likely perchance honest expose you, “Howdy, note your accepted reward watermelon, feta, and mint salad recipe, but you realize what? Strive springing for that nicer watermelon, gape the sheep’s-milk feta, and make certain that that you add a bunch of lemon zest!” and likewise you would potentially earn honest beautiful.
Whereas you earn that abominable perfected, that is if that you might perchance open adding a few bits of this and that within the occasion you like. Strive some recent arugula leaves or some cubed cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced crimson onion, and a few itsy-bitsy slivers of black olive. Or how about some thinly sliced chile peppers for warmth? I love a model I’ve made as soon as or twice with grilled (and chilled) corn, along with some cilantro chopped along with the mint.
What the heck. Right here is my recipe for you anyway.
Click Play to Be taught Easy the manner to Operate Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad
3 pounds seedless watermelon (about 1 itsy-bitsy or 1/4 sizable), rind removed, nick into 1-slide chunks (about 2 pounds/1kg chunks after rind is discarded)
1 tablespoon (15ml) juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 (2-slide) strips zest, removed with a interesting vegetable peeler
1/4 cup (10g) roughly chopped recent mint leaves
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
As much as 4 ounces (1 quart) arugula leaves (optionally accessible; seek notes)
Kosher salt and freshly floor black pepper
4 ounces (110g) feta cheese (seek notes)
Space watermelon chunks in a sizable bowl. Finely cut lemon zest. Add lemon juice and half of of zest to bowl with watermelon. Add mint, oil, and arugula (if using) and toss till watermelon is evenly dressed. Season evenly to taste with salt and pepper. (The cheese will add saltiness, so slouch light on the salt at this stage.)
Transfer salad to a wide, shallow bowl or a sizable plate and unfold out evenly. Crumble feta over the pinnacle. Sprinkle with closing lemon zest. Drizzle with extra olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve as we order.
This dish tremendously relies on the fantastic of the feta. Whilst you be pleased alternate strategies at your supermarket, gape true Greek or Bulgarian sheep’s-milk feta, which tends to be creamier and tangier than home cow’s-milk variations. To present this salad extra wide, add arugula.