A little sweet, a little salty… this quick-to-assemble salad is perfect on a summer night paired with something off the grill.
Though we only attended the same school for one year and weren’t even in the same grade, my friend Abby and I have a unique history and never fail to relive old memories whenever our paths cross.
Our mothers volunteered together when we were very young, and I have decades-old memories of family picnics at their pool and fun times in Abby’s basement while recovering from the chicken pox. Years later, we attended the same summer camp in New England, and after stints in a variety of places from Florida to Maine, ended up settling our respective families just a few blocks from one another.
During one of those camp summers, Abby signed up for an extended wilderness trip that involved hiking the Appalachian Trail for seven grueling weeks. There were no showers or warm shelters, just tents, countless mosquitoes, and impressive blisters from day after day of hard hiking. Abby and her fellow hikers carried everything on their backs, occasionally restocking their food supplies along the way.
I remember a letter detailing 120 mosquito bites on one hiker’s neck and days on end of hiking and sleeping through drenching rain. There wasn’t a dry item left in any of their packs. This is one of those adventures that we still talk about thirty-some years later, mostly because I still find her adventure—she was 15 years old at the time—incredibly impressive.
Maybe it was Abby’s early experience cooking over a campfire, because she happens to be rather adept in the kitchen. As we were enjoying one of her favorite salad recipes recently, I asked her what food she most missed during that extended summer in the wild. Ice cream was her immediate reply. (I’m sure that would be mine, too!) She also commented how amazing fresh fruit tasted after being deprived of local produce for nearly two months.
Abby’s go-to salad is perfect on a warm summer night when watermelon is at its sweetest. It’s easy to throw together and pairs well with grilled chicken or steak. When served to company, the salty-sweet flavor profile makes this salad an unexpected but consistent crowd-pleaser.
As we kick off the unofficial start of summer this weekend, Abby offered a fun giveaway to my blog readers, and I wanted to mention it here as well. Abby is a stylist for Stella & Dot, a San Francisco-based company that sells boutique-style jewelry and accessories, and is giving away a $75 gift card to a lucky winner.
(Offer over) To enter, simply leave a brief comment under this recipe post on my blog between now and June 5, 2016. There are also photos below as well as a link to the products you can select if you win, from colorful beach bags to signature charm necklaces and more. Good luck!
A little sweet, a little salty… this quick-to-assemble salad is perfect on a summer night with something off the grill.
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice plus the zest of one lime
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced (Abby sometimes uses 3 or so sliced scallions instead)
- 4 cups seeded watermelon chunks
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup slivered fresh mint (may substitute fresh basil or use a mix)
- 2 cups baby arugula
Add the vinegar, lime juice, and zest to a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the thinly sliced red onion and let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes as you prepare the rest of the salad.
Add the watermelon, feta, mint, and arugula to a large bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and serve immediately after dressing. (Due to the high water content in the fruit, the salad will become soggy if it sits too long.)
To see all the fun items you could buy with your Stella & Dot gift card, click here or on any of the images above and below.