Watermelon & Feta

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It was Greek night at Chez Maggie & Jeff’s last night. I’d been craving a watermelon and feta salad, which is a favorite summer salad in Greece. Don’t turn up your nose quite yet; I know it’s unusual sounding, but this refreshing salad is a great way to use the sweet watermelon that is in season right now. My friend Marcy introduced me to this salad. Her friend had lost a whole lot of weight eating a whole lot of watermelon and she told Marcy about this salad. Now I can’t vouch for the diet part, but I can vouch for the taste part—sweet and salty, two of my favorite flavor combinations.

There are many variations on this salad from the simple (cubed watermelon and crumbled feta cheese drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar) to more sophisticated versions like this recipe in The Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cookbook we picked up on one of our many jaunts to the wine region just north of us. Great wine and cookbook! Lamb burgers completed our Greek-inspired evening, although we skipped the obligatory glass of Ouzo at the end of the meal. Take the cookbook’s advice, “Enjoy with a dry, crisp sauvignon blanc.”
Watermelon and Feta Salad
Serves 6
1 small red onion
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
6-8 cups seedless watermelon
4 cups arugula
¼ cup olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsp. fresh mint, chopped
Separate the rings of the onion and put in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over a high heat. Pour over the onion rings and let steep for 30 minutes in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Cut the watermelon into 1-inch chunks using only the ripest, redest part of the melon and put into a bowl. Drain the onions, reserving the liquid, and add them to the watermelon along with the arugula, feta and mint. Whisk together 2 tbls. of the reserved liquid with ¼ cup olive. Drizzle over salad and toss gently.

Tips and Tidbits
This is a salad that needs to be eaten the same day as the arugula wilts and is not as appetizing the next day.

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