I mentioned last week that I have a hard time eating melon any way other than chilled, plain, nothing else to it. I’ve heard of people putting feta with their melon. So weird. So so weird. I was never gonna try it. Why ruin a perfectly good thing?
I was wrong.
I’ve been missing out.
I was the weird one.
Creamy, cool, salty chunks of feta. Savory, crunchy, spicy red onions. Bright, summery, fresh herbs.
It’s like a summer poem on a plate. A mouthwatering piece of art.
Oh that I could eat this for every meal of every day.
Although I really reeeeally enjoyed this salad as is (and it’s seriously best with everything piled into the same bite), if you wanted to change things up, here are some suggestions: You could make this an all savory salad and substitute eggplant for the melon. Easy. If you’re going for a vegan dish you might swap the feta for some crumbled extra firm tofu (you might want to add a little extra salt). If feta isn’t your favorite, but you love blue cheese, ricotta, or goat cheese, give ’em a try. Like most things that I make, it’s best made to suit the cook’s tastes, with what they have on hand.
I ate this for lunch today, standing at the kitchen island, watching a Red Sox game, all the while trying to hurry so I could clean up and get back to work. But, here’s how I really want to enjoy it: outside, with some of my favorite people, alongside some grilled sausage and a creamy potato salad, with some of Tim’s homemade ice cream for dessert. Maybe not today, but soon. It needs to happen soon.
Sometimes there’s something to be said for, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Not here. I will never tire of freezing cold melon on its own. But, this salad holds a special place in my heart. Because, if I dig a little deeper, it’s a great reminder that it’s always a good thing to venture out of my comfort zone to try something new, something scary, something that might seem a little bit weird.
- 2 C (heaping) melon (cantaloupe or watermelon), cubed
- 1 C tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 C cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 C red onion, diced
- 1-2 sprinkles cayenne or 1 hot pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- 2 T fresh mint, diced
- 2 T fresh basil, diced
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- 4 oz. feta (or ricotta, blue cheese, goat cheese, or extra firm tofu), crumbled
- Toss melon through hot pepper (if using) in a bowl.
- Whisk salt through vinegar (and cayenne, if using), stream in olive oil as you whisk.
- Toss melon mixture with dressing. Add feta. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.