Watermelon Salad

‘Tis that time of year, no?  HOT.  But good summer fruits are ridiculously plentiful and cheap.  Captain Peter had quite enough Watermelon Gazpacho with the last monster melon I bought, so tonight we’ll stay solid with a salad.  It’s hot enough this time of year on the Gulf Coast that, at best, we get out for a quick sunset sail when a not-Harvey-strength breeze picks up and the sun has gone down in the sky a bit. So a sunset salad and fruity Lemon Blueberry Scones it is.

I see co-Pirate Caroline has color-corrected my “sepia tone” photo … which actually wasn’t bad photography on my part, for once!  It was that magical time of evening when everything goes soft and sepia tone.  My favorite time!  We’ll give you both….

Watermelon Salad With Preserved Lemon

For print-friendly recipe see below

3-4 cups watermelon chunks
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 lemon’s worth preserved lemon rind
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons Port wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons (“1 big bear squeeze”) honey


Slice the onion very thinly and halve the olives.  If you couldn’t find a sweet onion and are using red or white (or heaven forbid, yellow), soak it in ice water for 10-15 minutes to take some of the bite out of it.Toss the onion, olives, and feta cheese with the watermelon.  For what it’s worth, at this point I sort of wished I had left the feta out and sprinkled it over the salad at the end for aesthetic reasons — it wouldn’t have made the melon all milky looking and the colors would have been crisper.  But it was delicious. And frankly with sepia tone lighting, crisp colors are overrated.Remove the flesh from the rinds of two quarters of a preserved lemon (this is twice as much as you need…I was making scones as well) and chop them very finely.  This is a GREAT time for an ulu!  I wrapped the bowl of mine to prevent any onion flavors from getting on the lemons that I would be using for the scones, but for the salad you don’t need to.Chop the mint finely as well, and add half of it to the lemon, reserving half to sprinkle over the finished salad.Add the honey, port, balsamic and EVOO to the lemon and mint and whisk to combine.  You can add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, but bear in mind the feta will add a lot of salt and you don’t want to overwhelm the delicate melon flavor.Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently, so as to not crush the melon too badly.  Chill this well if you have time.Sprinkle with the remaining mint (and feta, if you have reserved it to go for “crisp aesthetics”) and serve in the most lovely light you can find.  Enjoy the sunset before you head back up the bayou.

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