I needed a break and I wanted some rest. So, my dear husband loaded up our twin daughters into their stroller for a walk. After more than an hour they returned home, along with a huge watermelon. When I asked what they did, he told me that they visited some friends in town and one of our neighbors handed him this watermelon. I’m still not sure how he managed pushing the double stroller and carrying the watermelon at the same time back to our home. But that’s what happens when you go walking around this town of Bonrepòs i Mirambell, Spain. Someone either hands you a home-grown watermelon or a shopping bag full of vegetables tended from one’s own field. I like small towns.
Lately, we have been ending most of our meals with a generous slice of watermelon. To change things up a bit, I decided to recreate a salad that I first tasted at a friend’s wedding reception in Israel. The main ingredient was watermelon, which was cut into small pieces, along with cubes of feta cheese and thin strips of chopped mint leaves and served in the melon’s rind. I was surprised to see this mix of cheese and watermelon together and at first glance I wasn’t interested in trying it, but I am glad my curious taste buds encouraged me to do so. The contrast of the sweet juicy flavors of the watermelon with the salty bits of feta, and the hit of mint left quite an impression on my palate. When the summer temperatures reach incredible heights, this is the salad that I crave for. It is the perfect dish to perk up your senses when you are trying to fight off the lazy urges of the summer heat. And it is so simple to make!
The ingredients that my Israeli friend used were watermelon, feta cheese and mint. For my Spanish version, I used a local cheese called Queso de Burgos con sal and instead of mint, I used a herb called hierbabuena (the good herb) which looks exactly like mint, smells like mint and tastes like mint, but according to my father-in-law it is not mint. If I was making this dish in Prague, I would purchase some Balkan cheese and mint from my local farmer’s market to add to the watermelon.
When I served the salad for lunch at the home of my Spanish in-laws, they were also surprised to see such a strange combination of ingredients mixed together. However, after a few bites and bowls of seconds and thirds, this watermelon salad made quite an impression. There weren’t any leftovers.
Watermelon with Feta Cheese and Mint Salad
1/2 block of Feta (or Balkan or Queso de Burgos ) cheese
1-2 stalks of mint leaves (or if in Spain: hierbabuena)
Cut watermelon in small cubes or pieces
Chop cheese into tiny cubes
Slice mint leaves into thin strips.
Use either the watermelon rind for the bowl or another large bowl, place all the ingredients together.
Mix and blend all the ingredients well.
Refrigerate before serving.
Best enjoyed on one of the hottest days of the summer!