Watermelon and feta salad
Summer is teasing us, offering a few days of sunshine and blue skies only to retract its promise and send clouds and rain next. To be honest, I love cloudy, rainy days and often use them to catch up on my reading. After indulging in Roman history before and after our extended stay in Italy, I have moved on to the Russian dynasty in preparation for an upcoming trip to St Petersburg to visit its amazing palaces. I am reading biographies of Catherine the Great and the House of Romanov by Robert Massie who brings the period and characters to life much like the Canadian author Ross King does with Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. You feel like you are there, witnessing historical events as they happen. Catherine the great left her mark all over St. Petersburg and I am looking forward to visit the city. Can you imagine a young woman at the age of 33 staging a coup toppling a reigning Russian Emperor and succeeding in staying on the throne for the next 30+ years? Remarkable.
So, to take a break from the military coup in Russia in mid 18th century I thought I’d go into the kitchen and prepare something, nothing revolutionary, just a salad. A quick search in the overfilled fridge produced a seedless watermelon that I bought the other day, so watermelon salad came to mind, and for me, watermelon has to have feta cheese. Sweet watermelon and salty feta is one of the wonderful flavour combinations that takes you by surprise. I grew up with these flavours so it’s not new to me but I noticed that many people I know have never combined these two together. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you do.
Watermelon salads are fresh and refreshing, easy to make and mix well with other ingredients such as raspberries, strawberries, cucumbers, red onions, olives, fruity olive oil, lemons, limes, balsamic reduction and mint.
If you make it for a crowd chop the watermelon into chunks and combine with the ingredients of your choice. I made this salad for only two, so I stacked watermelon squares with crumbled feta in between and piled the greens on top. A drizzle of feta salad dressing completes the dish.
To get the symmetrical squares cut the watermelon into equal thickness round slices, stack them and cut into shape. Of course, use seedless watermelon for best results.
1 seedless watermelon
Feta cheese, crumbled
A few slices of chopped red onion
Fresh mint leaves
4 oz feta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup yogurt or water
Cut the watermelon into equal size slices, then stack them and cut into a rectangle. Cut the rectangle stack in two so you get 2 stacks of three layers each.
Arrange the watermelon stacks on 2 plates, crumbling feta on top as you go. Crumble some feta around the plate as well.
Pile greens on top of the watermelon stacks, add a few slices of red onion and a few mint leaves.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve the salad with dressing on the side.