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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beat the Heat Non-Cooking: Cucumber, Feta and Watermelon Salad


For a muy refresco salad, try using the best of the summer's bounty - Farm Fresh Cucumbers and Sweet Juicy Watermelon.  When the weather is as hot as it's been this year, I barely have energy to think let alone cook.  Here's an easy salad that cools you off and gets better as it sits chilling in the refrigerator.  Think of it as a variation of the cucumber salad or quick pickles about which I've previously blogged.  Cool, crisp, sweet and salty, all the flavors and textures that work well on a hot day when you don't feel like cooking.  It's light and refreshing and best of all takes no heat or time to make.  Quantities can vary.  I've approximated the amounts for recipe purposes, but honestly, I really just tossed stuff together without thinking too hard - the heat's gotten to my brain!


Cucumber, Feta and Watermelon Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Red Onion - thin half-moon slices
  • 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons (Divided) White Wine Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt - for salting veggies & seasoning
  • 2 Cucumbers - peeled if waxy, otherwise, cut in half length-wise, de-seeded and cut into half-moon 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 Celery Stalks - small/medium dice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • A Few Grinds Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese - crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley - rough chop
  • 1/4 Cup Mint - rough chop
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Watermelon - seeded and large dice

Directions:
  1. Prepare the onions first to take the sulfuric bite out of the raw onion: slice the onions and put them into a non-reactive bowl (glass, stainless steel or "china").  Season with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and pour 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar over the onions.  Set aside and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. While the onions are mellowing out, peel, seed and slice the cucumbers; dice the celery. Place both in a mixing bowl and season with a generous pinch of kosher salt, tossing to combine.  
  3. In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, whisking to dissolve the sugar.  Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and celery; set aside and let this mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse the onions under cold running water, shake excess liquid off the onions; add the onions to the cucumber and celery.  Add in the chopped parsley, mint and crumbled feta. If you are not serving this immediately, cover tightly and refrigerate.
  5. Immediately before serving gently fold in the seeded and diced watermelon and drizzle the mixture with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Serve chilled.  Salad will hold for 1 day with the watermelon added to it, or for 2 days without the watermelon.  Makes approximately 6 to 8 servings.

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