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Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon is 80% water and, as such, is one of the most refreshing foods that you can have. It satisfies your sweet tooth, your thirst and your hunger, all in one go. I used to love to eat it plain, scooping it out of the rind with a spoon when I was down at the beach as a kid.

One day, years later, a coworker introduced me to the practise of adding a sprinkle of salt to the melon. What a revelation! The fruit was juicier and sweeter behind the subtle taste of the salt. It’s not a big leap from there to realise that salty feta cheese can bring out the flavor of the melon in the same way, with the creaminess of the cheese adding a nice contrast to the crisp melon.

I don’t have all that much to say about this salad except that it is simple, refreshing and delicious. It is the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or a picnic, as it is surprising and summery. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is best to prepare it no more than a few hours before serving, as after a day or so in the refrigerator the watermelon will start to leak water into the bottom of the bowl (a phenomenon that anyone who keeps watermelon on hand will have witnessed before).

The amounts given here are approximate, so don’t feel the need to measure too carefully. Add as much or as little feta to the watermelon as you like, but be sure not to forget the fresh basil. Jennifer used parsley in hers, but I think that the sweet, sharp bite of the basil is the perfect compliment to the cool melon and creamy feta.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

6-8 cups watermelon, diced (1/2 large melon)

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh basil, diced

Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl and mix. Refrigerate until cold before serving.
Serves 8.

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  • doodles
    June 21, 2006

    yes this is a wonderful summer treat………..if you like that try canalope and gorgonzola

  • gray la gran
    June 21, 2006

    oooooooh, i know i’m picking up a melon at the farmer’s market this weekend. the question is, how long will it take one girl to consume a watermelon?

  • Sean
    June 21, 2006

    Oh, I’ve had this exact salad on my mind for the past few days, and now that it’s hotter than hades out, it looks better than ever. I’ve also used mint in lieu of basil to great effect.

  • Rebecca
    June 21, 2006

    You should try watermelon with lime juice, too! It’s amzing how good it is!

  • Annie
    June 21, 2006

    I’ve never tried this, but it sounds fabulous. The cantalope and gorgonzola sounds good too.
    I have had a salad with pears, walnuts and gorgonzola-too die for.

  • Anonymous
    June 22, 2006

    Hi – I love your site. I’m a lurker from California. I just had to comment on this because my family’s from Mexico and we often eat fruit like watermelon, oranges, and strawberries sprinkled with a little salt, instead of sugar like Americans do. My caucasian boyfriend thinks I’m nuts. But it’s so yummy! The best is when you sprinkle with both some fresh lime juice AND salt on watermelon, jicama, oranges, cucumber, papaya, fresh coconut, mangoes, and pineapple – it’s an explosion of freshness in your mouth… I wouldn’t do it to a banana, though. Anyways, keep doing what you do, your site’s amazing!

  • Crissy
    June 22, 2006

    Wow, I never tried using watermelon for a savory dish. This is another recipe of yours that I will definitely try doing at home 🙂

  • The Cookbook Junkie
    June 22, 2006

    I have seen versions of this recipe everywhere, so I know it must be delicious, but I just can’t wrap my head around it.

    I like salt and black pepper on canteloupe and I love fruit salsas so I have no problem with mixing melon with savory but feta and watermelon just doesn’t sound good to me.

    BUT, I know I’ll like it when I eventually get to try it, if that makes any sense.

  • georgia
    June 22, 2006

    I plan to serve this at my Sunday tea!

  • Anonymous
    June 26, 2006

    Mint will go well with the watermelon and feta. XD

  • Robyn
    June 26, 2006

    First came across this delicious!! combo on Nigella’s TV programme. Her version:
    1 small red onion
    2-4 limes, depending on juiciness
    1.5 kg sweet, ripe watermelon
    250g feta cheese
    bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
    bunch fresh mint, chopped
    3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    100g pitted black olives
    black pepper

    She steeps the thinly sliced red onion in lime juice while preparing the rest of the ingredients, which takes the edge off the onion and produces a glam colour. Dramatic dish, which gets rave responses.

  • ces
    June 27, 2006

    oh, wow! i love love love watermelon..true it’s refreshing and filling all at the same time…thanks for this great idea!

  • Jared
    June 28, 2006

    We’ve made the Nigella version and it’s amazing. Watermelon makes a great savoury dish.

  • Anonymous
    July 4, 2006

    My husband and I were out to dinner this past weekend at a wonderful BYOB here in Philly (Matyson) and Watermelon and Feta salad was on their appetizer list. Too funny. I had just seen this on your blog.


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