Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad
I first made this salad on Christmas Day as it was perfectly color schemed for the festivities. Then I tasted it and was swept away by the lime, the bite of the onion, the salty tang of the feta and of course the pink of the melon. I pulled it out again to impress at yesterday’s Australia Day barbecue crowd (where it accompanied the Golden Yogurt Cornbread).
Putting it plainly the salad is gorgeous in a way only pink food can be. Pure beauty, (much like the picture above… how beautiful and relaxed do these women look? Trust me, that’s how you’ll feel after this salad).
As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your summer table. Nigella Lawson
1 small red onion
2-4 limes, depending on juiciness
1.5 kg/3.3 pound sweet, ripe watermelon
250g/9 oz feta cheese
bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
bunch of mint, chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100g/3.5 oz pitted black olives
Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice – this brings out the transparent pickness in the onions and diminishs their rasp. Two limes worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm triangular chunks, if that makes sense (you don’t have to have spot on 1.5kg… more or less will do as it’s not cake baking being undertaken here).
Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv Sunshine!
Source: Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson.
Best Cooked to… Swedish band Miike Snow. Any of their songs are sweet and dancey (if you don’t absorb the slightly depressing lyrics). Their biggest hit is Animal, but Burial and their remix of one of Vampire Weekend’s songs are really good.
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