Fruit and cheese: to some it's a weird pairing, but to others (like us), it's the best of both worlds. Stonefruit and burrata are perfect together in salads, and Brie and apples are great atop crackers. Another delicious combo is that of feta and watermelon. The sweet, mild taste of the melon is practically made to compliment the tangy nature of the crumbly cheese, and we've found an easy recipe that joins the two in perfect harmony.
This dish comes from the cookbook Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life ($19, amazon.com). Written by Lucy Buffett (yes, that's Jimmy Buffett's younger sister), the book features more than 100 recipes and serves as a guide to classic Southern coastal cuisine, and this one in particular is pretty much made for summer dining.
"In the Deep Coastal South, where the summer temperatures soar into the eighties and nineties, it’s custom to throw together some meals that don’t require the heat of cooking, so cold salads become main players on menus,” says Buffett.
Read on for the full recipe.
Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 red onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
1 cucumber, halved, seeded, scored with a zester, and sliced into half-moons
1 small seedless watermelon, chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
How to Make It
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, and the red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the red onion and let the mixture stand for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the red onion, discarding the liquid.
3. Make one large salad in a salad bowl or make individual salads by gently combining the red onion, cucumber, watermelon, and feta.
4. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and lightly drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with chopped mint.