Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad. This Tastes So Much Better Than It Sounds!
Here is a recipe idea for all people fortunate enough to reside in parts of the world friendly to the growth of February watermelons!
I tried a version of this salad with some skepticism a few days ago and was blown-away by the pure, clean and simple flavors of this very refreshing starter salad. It's a cinch to make, literally only takes about 3 minutes of chopping to prepare it, and it will delight.
You can substitute the feta as called for below with a nice goat cheese or even a fresh queso blanco. Ideally the cheese is slightly salty and with at least a mild tang. You can also substitute another acid for the red wine vinegar if you'd prefer to do so. Lemon juice would also work quite well. You need some sour and salty to counteract the sweet flesh of the melon - and the cheese and vinegar (or lemon juice) do this quite nicely.
This is not a strict, measuring the ingredients kind of recipe – and you will need to taste for flavors and balance as you go.
- Watermelon cut into fine dice – making sure that all seeds are removed. You will need about 1 ½ cups of diced melon per serving.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- A little feta cheese
- In a bowl, mix the watermelon together with a splash of the olive oil and a half-as-much splash of the vinegar. Season with a little salt to taste - Use just enough vinegar to counteract the sweetness of the watermelon – the salad should not taste sour.
- On a serving plate, mound the watermelon in the center and top with a few crumbled cubes of feta cheese. If you have a nice flakey sea salt, sprinkle a little more on top.
- Serve immediately.
This is not substantial – and is certainly not a meal salad – but works great as a starter.
How to make a simple "vinegar cheese"
If you don’t have any feta or goat cheese on hand, you can make a simple fresh cheese pretty easily with just a little milk and a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar.
What you do is:
Heat about a ½ liter of milk up in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat and add in 2 Tbls of plain white vinegar.
Stir it up and you will see the white solids separate from the greenish whey. If the milk-water is at all white still, add in another teaspoon or 3 of vinegar, until you have solidified all of the milk solids.
Strain the mixture through a very fine strainer or preferably, through a cheese cloth, and discard the whey.
Salt the collected curds to taste and store in the fridge until needed.
This makes a very good fresh and easy ricotta-like cheese (that actually does make an excellent substitute for ricotta cheese in a pinch!)
Video demo on vinegar cheese making
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