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Simple, Sophisticated Watermelon Summer Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad (Crescent City Cooking, pg. 107)

Hi ho, go gos! I’ve lived in Louisiana my whole life, and for as long as I can remember, watermelons have been a staple of my Summer snacking menu. Believe it or not, I can still remember a particularly divine watermelon experience at a family get-together when I was probably ten or eleven. The melon was that deep, pinky-red, and was so icey-cold my teeth hurt from the chill. It was sweeter than sugar, and so amazingly juicy. I doubt then that country kid would have ever thought he’d be flipping over a somewhat savory watermelon salad dish, but this simple salad is something special.

Crescent City Cooking, by Susan Spicer, is an wonderful cookbook, and a must for any serious New Orleans cook. I actually first had this dish at Bayona where the waiter mentioned it was one of her favorite things on the menu. She wasn’t kidding. She knew the cookbook, and what page (pg. 107) the recipe was on by heart.

This salad is very grown-up, and features a cast of flavors that work uncommonly well together. Cubes of watermelon and cucumber are cool and refreshing. Bitter arugula and sweet-heat red onions challenge the crunchy fruit. Its citrus dressing pulls everything together with crumbles of of tart feta to garnish. This salad is perfect for ladies who lunch.

The Recipe

  • 2 cups seeded and diced ripe watermelon
  • 2 cups seeded and diced cucumber
  • 1 bunch (about 2 cups) of arugula
  • 1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • Citrus dressing (see below)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

The Make

It couldn’t be easier. Toss all the ingredients in a big bowl. Divide among four plates and eat.

Citrus Dressing

  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tblsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh mint
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt (to taste)

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Screw on the lid, and shake until well-blended.

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