Picture this: weekend invitations to a BBQ or two, and it’s so hot outside you can fry eggs for the whole street. With bacon. If you live in a place with no AC like my apartment, you can more or less set up said diner right from my door. Last weekend a co-worker had his housewarming, and I told him I’d make a cheesecake when I replied. When the temps rose like a soufflé, I quickly re-strategized. Also, my running group was having a BBQ the same weekend, so I definitely didn’t want to melt in effort to cook for both events! So then I thought, summer salad times two, and we’re done!
Turns out that summer salads are not only cooling to eat (who really wants a dense cheesecake in humidity so thick that you can use the same cake knife to slice through it?), but easy to make when all you feel is lethargy. Literally, all you do is wash, chop, and toss. Leave that frying pan where it is and don’t even think about pre-heating your oven! And salads can get very pretty and elaborate without all that much work. The key is to have variety in every sense — colour, texture, shape, size. Well, maybe not so much size because you want more or less everything to be bite-sized. Have you ever eaten a salad where the lettuce was dangling from your mouth? Kind of like eating spaghetti made of green vegetables, eh?
Watermelon salad looks fancy but it’s super easy, like most others. The hardest part might be choosing a ripe watermelon. My cousin is one of those people with the sixth sense to detect which watermelon is ripe. You know, she goes over to the crate of melons, picks one up and bring it to her ear, raps a couple hard knocks on the striped green rusk, and declares it ripe or unripe. Apparently the skill cannot be taught–it has to be sensed, which is what she would try to explain to my aunt, who is forever in amused adoration of her daughter’s innate ability. Some people have described the sound of watermelon ripeness to me as a soggy ring. Not that the watermelon is completely hollow at the knock, and neither is it like a solid sound with no resonance. Well, some people can farm, some can cook, and some can pick out ripe watermelon. There’s gotta be enough room for all of us in this world.
Watermelon salad recipe, Adapted from the Food Network
- 1/2 watermelon, evenly cubed
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled into large chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- decent grade of olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the cubed watermelon and basil in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Add the salt and pepper, and toss gently.
- Add the feta last, and toss gently again while being careful not to break up the feta too much in the process.
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper as you see fit.
- Let salad chill in the fridge until ready to serve.