Thinkin’ Outside the Rind
This is a post I probably should have put up last week – both because I made the dish then and, more importantly, because watermelon season may well have quietly slipped away for another year sometime between this week and last week. (I didn’t see any at the Headhouse Market on Sunday.) There’s just been such an influx of great produce and recipe ideas in my kitchen lately that I can’t get everything posted fast enough. But perhaps you can still find a watermelon in your own garden or at your farmers market. Or you might even have a few stashed away like I do (watermelons will keep for several weeks if placed on a cool basement floor).
I’ve had this unusual recipe dog-eared in The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking for quite some time and finally gave it a try last week to take to dinner at Farmer Dave’s house. The reason I hadn’t given it a go sooner is because, well, I don’t like olives. So I needed an occasion to get some unbiased taste testers to both tell me if it was good and to then actually eat it. It was the perfect quick dish to take to a weeknight dinner party, and it seemed to be well-received despite the disappointing lack of saltiness (to contrast with the sweet melon) in both the olives and the feta, which really is the point of the whole salad.
While the reference cookbook is dedicated to using only four ingredients, you’ll notice my version now has six. I found the lemon juice and salt gave it a little extra kick when my olives failed to hold up their end of the bargain. If you get flavorful ones, you could certainly omit either or both the salt and lemon juice.
A quick review of The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking: It’s a very interesting book to have on hand for both curiosity sake and for easy-to-prepare recipes (with only four ingredients, none of the recipes can get very complicated). I find the combinations they come up with in the book to be great starting points that often lead me to fun new dishes. It also gets me thinking about what four ingredient recipes I can come up with on my own. The last successful one was a cold salad of rice noodles, cucumber sticks, crushed peanuts and a little bottled thai peanut sauce (that was cheating a little bit, I know). Got any great four ingredient recipes to share? I’d love to hear about them!
Back to this recipe – get yourself one of the last watermelons of the year, good quality olives, and some salty feta cheese to make this savory watermelon salad that moves watermelon from the dessert plate onto the dinner plate instead. See, doesn’t the watermelon salad look great next to an early fall feast of grilled veggies, butternut squash, and a grilled veggie burger with farm fresh lettuce? Give it a try before the season is gone for good.
Savory Watermelon Salad
Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking
4 c. cubed and seeded watermelon
3/4 c. black olives, pitted and sliced
3/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 c. toasted seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, pine nuts, etc.
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. coarse sea salt
Place watermelon and olive slices in a medium serving bowl. Toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and salt and toss again. Finally, add the cheese and seeds and toss lightly just to combine. Allow to sit for 20 minutes in the fridge before serving.