Your first reaction to this combo is probably: Ew?!?! Why, oh why would anyone do this?!?! However, it is a delicious, cool, sweet and savory summer salad with real bite. I have to admit that when I put it out, my husband, Joel, first thought it was tomatoes, but I had to fess up before he would touch it (he is very, very picky). The feta got him (he’ll eat almost anything with feta on it). Well, low and behold, he liked it; and even helped himself to seconds. This is just a wonderful, different approach to summer salads. I hope you enjoy it and let me know how it goes for you.
3 lbs. watermelon, cut into small cubes (pits and rind removed)
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup toasted pecans or pignoli, whatever you like (toast nuts for about 5 minutes in oven at 400 degrees)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (please use real limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Approx. 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (This is optional because some people hate cilantro. It won’t make a big difference if you don’t use it.)
Place the melon pieces in a large bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over melon. Toss gently to coat. Add the feta, nuts, and cilantro (if you’re using) and toss to blend. I usually let it sit for at least an hour to blend flavors together in fridge. Take out half an hour or so before so that the cheese is room temperature.
Serves approx. 6 as a side
Of course, this would be delish with some heirloom tomatoes or some seedless Kirby cukes added. Take out a little watermelon if you’re including cukes and tomatoes (take watermelon down to 2 lbs. and substitute for 1 lb. of tomatoes and cukes.) You can use chopped up mint leaves instead of cilantro and you can substitute the nuts for peanuts, cashews, pignoli or pecans. I like pecans and pignolis best. You can also choose to leave the nuts out entirely.