I love when spring comes and all the fruits and vegetables you missed over the winter come into season. I especially miss watermelon. There are all sorts of watermelon flavored things, but they are just not the same, and who knows what’s really in them.
Last year, I found a great recipe from Jeff Potter’s book, Cooking for Geeks, for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was an experiment in sweet salty that I made one of the times I was Guest Chef at Ascencia in Glendale.
Spane had gotten a good report card and had requested Jambalaya for dinner. It’s spicy food, and with Global Warming Climate Change giving us warm nights already, we needed something to cool down our selves and our palates. I was reminded of the watermelon salad I made last year, and it was time to make another.
Let’s Make Savory Watermelon Salad
- 4 cups watermelon pieces
- 1 small red onion
- 8 large basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Put the watermelon and onion rings into a large bowl. Roll the basil leaves together tightly. Take a scissor and cut the rolled basil in small slices over the watermelon. Toss the pine nuts and cheese into the bowl. Grind black pepper over.
- DO NOT measure the oil, you will just be streaming it from the bottle.
- Make the vinaigrette by putting the mustard into a small bowl. Put the bowl on a towel so it cannot move around, you need both hands. Have ready a whisk. Put the vinegar into the bowl, and whisk the vinegar and mustard together. All the while whisking, slowly pour the oil into the bowl, a drop or two at a time. You will see the mixture begin to turn into an emulsion. When the mixture has thickened, you can stop adding oil.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Balsamic vinegar is preferred because it brings out the sweetness of the fruit. Other kinds of vinegar, except possibly raspberry or champagne, are not recommended.
You can use other onions for a different flavor. Vidalia onions are sweet so would be very nice. White onions are mild, so would also do well. Brown onions should probably be avoided as their pungent flavor would overtake the watermelon.