Watermelon Salad Lead
Credit: Courtesy

Looking to make a flavor-packed dish just in time for melon season? We reached into our archives for this tasty, no-fail summer recipe from Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson. "A fiery balance of hot and sweet" is how he describes this juicy tower of a salad that embraces the Italian tradition of enhancing flavors with olive oil. (He turns to his favorite brand, Chef's Blend, pressed in limited quantities each year from olives grown mostly in Georgia. Chef's Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $32/500 ml; Read on for the recipe.

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Arugula, and Serrano Chile Vinaigrette

Serves: 4


6 tbsp Serrano Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 medium seedless watermelon, skin and rind removed, and cut into 12 3-inch squares (½-inch thick)
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
¼ lb. baby arugula leaves (about 5 cups)
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ lb. feta, cut into 8 slices (½-inch thick)


1. Shake vinaigrette vigorously. In a large bowl, toss watermelon, serrano, and arugula with half the vinaigrette. Season with salt.
2.Set out 4 plates. Place a small amount of dressed arugula on each plate, then 1 watermelon slice, then 1 feta slice. Layer melon and feta until each plate has 3 watermelon slices and 2 feta slices.
3. Garnish with dressed serrano slices and drizzle vinaigrette around each plate. Serve immediately.

Serrano Chile Vinaigrette

Makes: 1 cup


½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
½ tbsp chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp kosher salt


1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a Mason jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously. The vinaigrette will last 10 days in the fridge and will increase in heat as it sits.

Ed. Note: This recipe was first featured in the August 2012 issue of InStyle. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine now.