This is one of my favourite salads. And everytime I make it I wonder why I don’t make it more often! Watermelon and Feta salads are not an original idea. If you’ve never had one I urge you to try it, the combination of sweet melon and salty feta cheese is so refreshing. There is a simple version in Nigella Forever Summer and you can find it here.
I had a version of this salad in Market Lane some time ago and I have been making it ever since. I have to admit I didn’t quite get the hype about watermelon. Cantaloupe or galia melons I love but never really got on board with the texture of watermelon. And then I had it grilled. What a difference it makes! The sugars caramalise and the melon becomes even sweeter and juicier.
Coating the feta in sesame and serving it warm makes it so much more interesting and adds a nice texture to the salad. Again you don’t have to go to this extra bit of effort but it makes it that bit more special. The salad is very adaptable. The measurements are really just a guide, don’t stick to rigidly to them. You can add cucumber, leave out the olives (I had to for half of it!) or add a bit of chilli to the watermelon when you are grilling it. A small drizzle of honey would also bring out the sweetness if you like it.
Serves 2 as a light meal or more as a side
- ½ a small red onion finely sliced
- The juice of a lime
- 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 200g good quality Feta
- 2 tbsp flour, seasoned with pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- More oil for frying
- 500g Watermelon
- 80g rocket leaves or salad leaves of your choice – peppery rocket works particularly well here
- A few mint leaves torn
- 50g of pitted black olives
- Start by prepping the onion as per the Greek Salad. Put the slices into a shallow bowl and cover with the lime juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Don’t go too mad with the salt as the feta and olives are quite salty. Mix well and allow to stand for 30 minutes to an hour. This will soften and take the rawness out of the red onions. The oil and juice mixture will then be your dressing for the salad.
- Set up a little station for the feta: take 3 small bowls and put the seasoned flour in one, the beaten egg in the next and then the sesame seeds in the third. Cut the feta into whatever size chunks you like. Dip the cheese into the flour, coat well and then move on to the egg and lastly cover well with the seeds.
- Heat a nonstick pan with oil and then turn the heat down to medium. You want to cook the cheese until the seeds are golden but you also want make sure it is warmed through without melting. Place the feta into the oil and cook gently for several minutes on each side until the seeds have turned a nice golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven if you need to.
- Heat a griddle pan or even better, a barbecue, to a high heat. Cut the watermelon into slices about an inch thick, cut off the rind and cut the flesh into wedges. Put the melon on to the hot grill and leave it for about 3 minutes. Cook it until there are nice black charred marks on the flesh and then turn it over to cook for just another minute. You don’t want it to turn to mush.
- While that is cooking, mix the marinated onions and the dressing with the rocket and a few mint leaves and divide between the plates.
- Top with some olives, the feta and the watermelon and serve immediately.
If making this dish for vegetarians please make sure the feta is suitable.
If you are wondering what to do with any leftover watermelon, click the tag below for some ideas!