Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Mint Leaves

Earlier this summer I had a bunch of mint leaves lying around and a dinner party where I was asked to bring a salad (I offered to bring something to contribute).  Anyway, a quick internet search for 'mint leaf salad' resulting in my preparation of a delicious watermelon and feta salad.  I impressed myself with this one, and it has been a summer staple in my picnic basket ever since.  

I first tasted watermelon and feta together on a salad offered on a chef's tasting menu when I was lucky enough to have famed chef Susur Lee prepare an eight-course tasting meal for my friends and me while he was in town testing new items to add to his summer menu at the now closed Zentan Restaurant.  I was convinced that this was a food pairing that while questionable to some, was simply meant to be.  

mom's little helper!

5 lb. seedless watermelon 
1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (when on the run I omit this)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 oz. feta cheese
6 whole mint sprigs
Balsamic vinegar


Cube watermelon into one inch pieces.  Slice the onion into rings, and cut the rings into halves.  

In small bowl, mix oil and red wine vinegar.  Whisk until salt nearly dissolves and add a splash of Balsamic vinegar.  Add chopped mint.

In large bowl, combine watermelon, onion, and feta.  Pour the dressing over the melon mixture toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed.  Garnish with mint sprigs and enjoy!

Note: If you are taking this to a party or a picnic, be mindful that the dressing should be added when the salad is ready to serve.  I take the leaves right off of the sprig and add them to the salad. 

Wine pairing: this tastes great with a chilled pinot noir rose.  I've enjoyed this with the Tatty Bogler New Zealand Rose, ~$15

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen


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