At barbecues, backyard bashes, and Fourth of July shindigs, summer salads often get treated as a side dish, with heftier entrees like grilled chicken and hamburgers taking center stage. Switch it up at your next soirée by serving your guests a salad they won’t soon forget—specifically, the Melon and Tomato Salad from renowned N.Y.C. restaurant Park Avenue Summer. This recipe combines some of the season’s finest produce into one gorgeous, flavorful dish.
"As with a lot of our dishes, we start with familiar flavors and combinations and tweak them to create something more interesting and delicious,” says executive chef Zene Flinn. “For the melon and tomato salad, we started with the idea of ‘prosciutto melon’ and subbed out the prosciutto for savory tomato and feta cheese, and then kept going from there. The end result is a refreshing, tasty summer salad with a bit of a twist.” Read on below for the recipe.
Melon & Tomato Salad
3 heirloom tomatoes in different colors
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, oven dried (method follows)
1/2 honeydew melon
1/4 seedless watermelon
1/2 charentais melon (or cantaloupe)
Fleur de sel
Aged balsamic vinegar
1. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil and salt, and cook in a 250°F oven for 30 minutes or until slightly dried out and intensified.
2. Cube or crumble feta.
3. Take the seeds out of the melons and cut to desired shape, using a melon baller if you have one.
4. Cut large tomatoes into slices and arrange them on a serving platter as your base, dressing them with olive oil and fleur de sel. Toss the different melon pieces in olive oil, fleur de sel, and lemon juice, and place on top of tomatoes. Add feta and oven dried cherry tomatoes. Finish with fresh picked thyme, lemon zest, and aged balsamic vinegar.