Monday, June 30, 2014

Cooling Watermelon, Cucumber, Mint and Goat Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber, Mint and Goat Feta Salad
It is officially summer time. Sunscreen and bug-spray perfume the air of weekends by the waters edge and long lazy evenings. It is suddenly hot all the time. The ice maker does all it can to keep up with the glasses of iced tea.

Wedding season coincides with this most glorious high point of summer evenings. This weekend I attended a beautiful farm wedding where guests were asked to bring all the side dishes. There was a grill filled with hamburgers and outdoor fryers for turkey. Three kinds of cakes were made by a friend of the bride. (This time it wasn't me! So relaxing.) The salads and veggie dishes were brought by an assortment of family and friends. 

Watermelon salad is the sort of thing I might order in a restaurant, but wouldn't normally think to make at home. I would just eat my watermelon straight up, for dessert. I got this recipe from my sister, instructing me over the phone while she was sitting in summer traffic. it was fun to make and not surprisingly just as fun to eat. Lime dressing pulls all the flavors together. And it presents sparkling and jewel colored on the table.

Limes have lately been unreliable due to droughts, sometimes having no juice. So good luck, you might need an extra one. 

Feta cheese holds together well in this juicy salad. Goat chevre could be used, but know it might melt melt in more than the feta does. Cow feta of course course could be substituted.

It is a matter of cubing the watermelon and cucumber in an attractive way. This gets a little juicy, if you have one of those cutting boards with a channel around the outside, use that to avoid puddles. The rest is easy as pie.  

Watermelon, rind removed and sliced

Cooling Watermelon, Cucumber, Mint and Goat Feta Summer Salad

1/2 a watermelon
1 English cucumber
Mint leaves, a big handful of fresh leaves
Lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
drizzle of olive oil
black pepper
Goat feta cheese

Slice the watermelon in half, slice this in half again. From each 1/4 of melon, remove the rind in pieces with a knife, leaving a wedge of sweet watermelon.

Cubed watermelon

Slice the wedge of watermelon in even 1/2 inch slices. The slices are fanned out in the photo, but stack them up neatly to cut into cubes. Slice the long way into 1/2 inch lenghths, and then turn, slicing into 1/2 inch squares. This way, they are the same size, making perfect cubes. Very pretty!

Diced cucumber and mint
Dice the cucumber, which is easier to handle than the big melon. 

Combine cucumber and melon into a large bowl. Reserve some mint leaves to garnish the top of the finished salad. Tear the remaining leaves with your fingers into pieces. I love mint and it is a feature here, so put in a lot, I guess it was about 1 cup. 

Squeeze the limes and pour the juice over the salad. Toss and taste if more lime juice would be a good thing. 

Season with salt and pepper. A drizzle of good olive oil will bring the savory flavors together. 

When the seasoning is right, crumble goat feta into it. Toss briefly and put into a beautiful serving bowl. Garnish with mint leaves.

Watermelon, Cucumber, Mint and Goat Feta Summer Salad

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