As kids my brother and I spent summer afternoons outside a lot. We were able to cavort around our neighborhood bicycling, rollerskating, swimming, playing soccer and other things kids did in the 80’s ‘on the streets’. One of the snacks we ate was messy, juicy, sweet watermelon. Mom would cut it up and bring a bowl out to the back yard. We would take a break from gardening or playing in the sprinkler to feast on it, sprinkling each wedge with a bit of salt and letting the juices run down our chins. After we were done we often had seed spitting contents. The watermelons we had were always riddled with slippery black seeds. We would save them up as we ate, then would have the contest. There were occasional arguments about whether seed bounces counted in spitting distance, or whether one of us stepped over the spitting line when getting a running start on a spit. To this day I am surprised there weren’t more watermelon plants growing rogue in the yard. This may be the oddest sounding salad I have ever made, but it was curiously satisfying. On a warm summer day in Texas I was looking for something other than a green side salad at dinner. We don’t eat much watermelon, considering the higher carbohydrate count for the fruit, but I am glad I plunged in with this salad. Very refreshing, and quite a different slant compared to the spiked Whiskey Watermelon I made a few years ago…different type of satisfying…
Savory Watermelon Salad
1 small seedless watermelon
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup finely diced sweet yellow onion
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced with meat retained
1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Prepare about 8 cups of watermelon in bite-sized pieces by cutting it into 1-inch cubes or using a melon baller. In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Whisk until combined. Add the feta, olives and onion. Stir to coat with the dressing. Add mixture to watermelon and gently toss, trying not to crush the watermelon pieces. Sprinkle mint and more salt to taste on top. Serve immediately or chill until served.
Note: as you can see from the picture the watermelon juices will mix with the dressing build up as the salad sits. It is recommended that a slotted spoon is used to serve, to reduce the soupiness of the salad when plated.