Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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.