Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad
I don't know what has gotten into me lately. Too much time on my hands? Trying to keep my mind off of other things? I have been all about the details. This past weekend I cleaned the house top to bottom. I even vacuumed the drapes. Then I indexed all my cookbooks! Yes, really. For all of you who have asked, the official count is 138! That's 19,611 recipes, including 63 recipes for chocolate chip cookies. If I made three recipes a day, it would take me 17 years to cook my way through all my cookbooks. The sad part is that most of my recipes are found on the internet. I am hoping this new system will help me use my cookbooks more often. Now I can search the recipes just like I do on the internet.
I know I am late to the watermelon feta salad game. I have been wanting to try it forever. I actually packed the recipe away last summer for my visit back to Michigan knowing that they would have better watermelon there. Time got the best of me and it just didn't happen. I haven't been overly excited about making it with Fairbanks watermelon, but I couldn't wait any longer and started tinkering with the recipe. The nice thing about being late to the game is that I had so many option to choose from. There are probably thousands of variations of this salad. I started with my cookbooks, but all of those ones used basil. After three or four versions I was finding that the basil just left me feeling like something was missing. So, I switched over to some of the mint varieties. It was getting closer. Then I found a recipe that marinated the red onions in lime juice. A couple of year ago I found a recipe for lime marinated onions on fajitas and fell in love with them. I make them all the time now. In the end I seasoned the salad with salt and pepper, most of the recipes I found didn't do this. The quality of my ingredients wasn't the best, and my feta was a little flavorless, the salt helped quite a bit. If you have access to ripe watermelon and fresh feta, you may not need the salt and pepper. Use your own judgement.
The recipe below is much less fussy than the one in the picture. All the same ingredients and flavors, just a whole lot less work. It's also a lot easier to transport to a Fourth of July potluck. If you want the fancy version, you will need to use a small cookie cutter to cut out the shapes from the watermelon and feta.
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad with Lime Marinated Onions
makes two servings, increase as need to serve a crowd
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
3 cups watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup feta, cubed or crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 mint leaves, chiffonade (I use kitchen scissors to cut into thin strips)
coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place red onion and lime juice in a medium bowl, allow to sit while you are preparing the remaining ingredients (15 minutes). Add watermelon and feta to bowl and gently stir to combine. Don't be too vigorous as it will break down the feta. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with mint and give it one last toss to combine ingredients. Serve immediately, or place in fridge and serve within four hours. The watermelon gets a little funky if it sits in the fridge too long.