This salad has three variations. I’ll provide the base ingredients, then explain the ways to mix it up.
I learned about this salad from Mark Bittman. I made a couple tweaks in the proportions of this salad, but the main one is in the execution. I think it’s a key improvement.
- 8 cups seedless watermelon (about half of a typical watermelon)
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (heirloom cherry tomatoes provide a great variety of color)
- 1 cup crumbled or diced gorgonzola OR feta OR fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro OR mint OR basil
- 3/4 cup minced scallions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch cayenne OR pepper
Can you figure out the variations? One salad is watermelon and tomatoes with gorgonzola and cilantro. The next is with feta and mint, the final is with mozzarella and basil. Use cayenne with the gorgonzola and cilantro, pepper with the other two.
Step 1: Cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes and slice the tomatoes in half. Combine and put in a strainer, then add the salt and toss to combine. The watermelon and tomatoes will instantly start to sweat lots of juice. If you tried a cube of watermelon now, it would be pretty salty. Most of the salt will run off as the fruit keeps sweating. You want to encourage this juice expulsion so your final salad isn’t swimming in tomato and watermelon juice, just the simple vinaigrette. Let the watermelon and tomatoes sweat for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and pour off the juice when necessary. (Bittman doesn’t do this step, and actually recommends adding watermelon juice to the final dressing. This is unnecessary; the watermelon and tomatoes will continue to sweat juice as the salad sits.)
Step 2. Now it’s time to put the salad together. Pick which variation you’d like to make. I’d recommend starting with the gorgonzola and cilantro. It’s the most unique combination, but all the flavors work well together. The brightness of the cilantro pairs well with the creaminess and richness of the gorgonzola. The mozzarella and basil
Step 3. In a large bowl, add the watermelon and tomatoes, scallions, herb, cheese and dressing. Toss to combine and serve.