The City Cook’s Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Just when the produce markets are full of cheap and ripe watermelon and local tomatoes, it’s time to put them together for a perfect summer salad. Cut the pieces of melon and tomatoes to be around the same size so that the flavors balance in every bite.

A wedge of ripe watermelon, enough to produce 3-cups of 1-inch chunks
2 to 3 ripe local tomatoes (New Jersey beefsteak-style are best), enough to produce about 2 cups of 1-inch chunks
1/4-pound Feta cheese cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2/3 cup in total)
1 medium red onion
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
1 teaspoon good quality red wine vinegar (more to taste)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt

1. Using a dry sauté pan or skillet, lightly toast the pine nuts over a moderate heat. Watch them carefully because they can quickly burn. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Cut the watermelon into 1-inch chunks, removing any black and/or white seeds along the way. Your goals is about 3 cups of melon chunks.
3. Core the tomatoes and if the skins are thick, also peel them. Cut into 1-inch chunks.
4. Slice the red onion into thin slices.
5. Combine the melon and tomato chunks and onion slices together in a serving bowl.
6. Sprinkled the toasted pine nuts and pieces of Feta cheese over the melon, tomato and sliced onion.
7. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to the ingredients, plus a generous pinch of salt.
8. Gentle toss to combine. Be careful to not mash the cheese or crush the pieces of melon so that the ingredients stay whole yet combined.
9. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice or olive oil if you like.
10. Serve immediately because the salt will cause water to be drawn from the melon and fruit, making the salad too watery. Serves 4.

Tip: There are several kinds of Feta cheese, including Greek, French and Bulgarian. They vary in taste, saltiness, and texture. Taste before you buy so that you get the one you like best. I prefer the Bulgarian for its creamy texture, good flavor, and modest degree of saltiness.
Tip: Both watermelon and tomatoes have lots of water so only salt this salad just before you’re ready to serve it.

The City Cook

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