Watermelon, mint and feta salad
It’s a truth generally acknowledged, that any fruit is improved with chili, salt and lime juice. Whether you’re eating green mango and cucumber in Thailand, or papaya and pineapple in Los Angeles, that trinity of seasonings brings out sweetness and flavour from the fruit. This salad is a hybrid of that ubiquitous summer street vendor fruit, with Egyptian watermelon and feta salad, and made a bit heartier with a few North African favours. It’s pretty much a recipe without a recipe, so tweak it as you see fit, on a hot summer day when you don’t feel like cooking.
You can eat this as leftovers, but it’s best after a really short marination–maybe 30 minutes. So chill the watermelon first, and serve it cold. It’s nice as an accompaniment with something light, like grilled chicken.
– 2 lb (800g) watermelon (about 5 cups chopped)
– 1 small red onion, or 1/2 a large
– 1 lemon
– 20 leaves of fresh mint, or so
– 1/2 lb (100g) feta cheese
– 1 tsp (5ml) salt
– 1 tsp (5ml) chili flakes
– 1/2 tsp (a generous pinch) ground toasted cumin, or less
Cut the melon into approximately 1 in (2cm) pieces. In other words, be sensible, and make them small enough that they can fit on a fork, and into someone’s mouth, without being annoying. Slice the onion into thin strips. Taste it, if it’s too intense, lightly salt it for a few minutes, and then soak it in cold water, to lose some of the spiciness.
Toss the watermelon together with the onion. Crumble the feta with your fingers, and add it to the watermelon. Tear, or chop, the mint coarsely and add it to the other ingredients, along with the juice of the lemon, the chili, the cumin, and half the salt.
Taste, and adjust the salt if needed. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.