If my friend Marion recommends a recipe, I pay attention.
Just trust me. Marion knows.
That was why I was a little taken aback recently when Marion sent me a photo and a rave review of a watermelon and tomato salad. Watermelon? Yes. Watermelon and tomato? I wasn’t sure.
Marion sent me the recipe from her vacation. She is spending several months at her family’s lake cottage in Michigan. Her family has been vacationing there for over 100 years and they have come together yet again this year to enjoy good times and good food.
I could only imagine how beautiful and relaxing Marion’s Michigan idyll must be until she sent me photographs. I hope she won’t mind my sharing one of them here. Can’t you just imagine sitting on that dock in a gentle breeze on a cool summer evening–a glass of Malbec in hand and a faithful pup by your side?
Back to the salad.
I consider myself a food adventurer. My pulse quickens when I come across a recipe with unusual ingredient combinations. So I decided to see if watermelon and tomato could indeed complement each other. I’m happy to report that the combination is delicious. The salad also presents beautifully–a gorgeous combination of colors accented with flecks of chopped green mint and basil.
Way to go, Marion! How could I have doubted you for even a second?
Recipe: Tomato-watermelon Salad with Feta and Toasted Almonds
4 C. watermelon chunks (1 1/4 inch chunks)
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes(seeded, cored and cut into 1 1/4 inch chunks)
1/2 t. (or more) fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt (I used Maldon)
2 1/2 T. extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
3/4 T. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. chopped assorted fresh herbs (I used basil and mint)
3 C. fresh arugula leaves, small watercress sprigs or baby spinach leaves
1/2 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 C. sliced almonds (lightly toasted)
Combine watermelon chunks with tomato chunks in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1 1/2 T. oil, vinegar, and herbs over melon mixture. Sprinkle salt over top and mix thoroughly. Grind pepper over mixture. Mix well and let mixture sit on your counter for about 15 minutes to let the flavors blend. Refrigerate to chill.
Toss greens in remaining oil. Arrange greens on a platter. Top greens with melon-tomato mixture. (Drain the melon-tomato mixture before putting it on your greens. It will have collected a lot of liquid.) Top with crumbled feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.
Cook’s Notes: The original recipe calls for using heihad
San Marzano tomatoes and used those but I think the heirlooms would be wonderful in this dish and the added color would be pretty. Also, I used spinach as a base for my salad because that is what I had on hand. I’m intrigued by the idea of using arugula or watercress next time. I think the peppery bite of those greens would be quite good in this salad.
What temperature to serve this salad. The original recipe calls for serving the tomato-watermelon mixture at room temperature. I chilled mine in the hope of bring out a bit more of the sweetness of the watermelon. I was pleased with the outcome.
The original recipe for this salad appeared in Bon Appetit in 2006. Here is a link: