Oh I know, I may have scared you with the mere idea of this salad but hopefully you've already seen it in cookbooks (Nigella has a version using olives) and at restaurants. A friend of mine Nic tried Nigella's version and pronounced it unpalatable so I was put off eating it for the longest time although I had never tried it myself. Until one blisteringly hot night we had this at Perama in Petersham and it seemed the answer to all of our culinary prayers.
There was juicy sweet watermelon which seemed just designed to quench our thirsts, creamy salty Danish feta (or in Perama's case Manouri cheese) and refreshing, sharp mint. I speared forkful after forkful drinking up the juice and the creamy cheese all the while lamenting this being the first time I had tried this and alternating it with being thankful for this dish in the oppressive heat.
This version is only four ingredients long and the key is to find a lovely, sweet watermelon. Mr NQN believes that larger watermelons are good for this as they have time to grow and develop their sweetness. Also not using too much feta and balsamic also helped. I did try Nigella's version with black olives and found the olives too salty for me against the lovely sweet watermelon although many adore her version. I prefer to use Danish feta due to its creaminess which contrasts nicely with the fruit.
So tell me Dear Reader, any tips on how to pick fruit in the supermarket or greengrocer's?
Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad
Serves 4 as a side salad
- 1.5 kg (3pound) watermelon wedge
- 120grams/4ozs Danish feta
- handful of mint leaves
- a very small dash of balsamic vinegar
Step 1 - Cut rind from watermelon and slice into bite sized triangles. Place in bowl and pull apart the Danish feta into chunks and add into bowl along with mint. Toss with clean hands and before ready to serve dress very lightly with balsamic vinegar.