Happy 4th of July!
Three-day holiday weekends lend themselves to parties and picnics and this one is no different. Friends of mine had planned an afternoon picnic at a local park yesterday. But the weather cooled and the picnic morphed into an evening potluck barbecue – and a perfect evening it was. Our small group gathered at the host’s house enjoying cocktails, shrimp cocktail, little cheese crackers, similiar to these, and hummus and pita on the patio. We lingered there soaking in every last minute of sun until it dipped behind the trees. Then it was into the house for the rest of the feast.
The host grilled delicious salmon and others contributed baked beans, potato salad, marinated cucumbers and onions. My offering was a watermelon salad. This salad, or at least some version of it, was all the rage several years ago. I remember attending one party where three people brought it! Luckily I was not one of them. But, as many things do, over the years its popularity has faded as newer recipes take center stage.
If you read my previous post you’ll know that watermelon is pretty much the epitome of summer for me. And this salad with its contrasting flavors is a great way to introduce watermelon into a meal. The sweet watermelon, salty cheese, spicy onions and soothing mint play off each other so that each bite is a melange of flavor. With the savory flavors as well as the sweet the salad will work with nearly any sort of main course.
If you choose to make this salad, please take the recipe with a grain of salt – the measurements are approximations. Start by cutting up your watermelon and then as you add the other ingredients just make sure the ratio seems good to you. There is no real right or wrong way to pull this together.
- 6 cups of cubed watermelon, seeds removed (about 3/4 of a small, seedless melon) – or you could make melon balls for a fancier presentation
- 1/4 cup diced onion – I used fresh-from-the-farmers-market green onions but any onion is fine
- 1/2 cup diced or crumbled ricotta salata – the original recipe most often called for Feta and a crumbly blue would work nicely, too
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 tsp chipotle or chile powder
Gently toss the watermelon, onion, cheese and mint together. In another bowl mix the olive oil, lime juice and chipotle powder together. Just before serving dress the watermelon with the olive oil mixture.