For World Oyster kitchen, I recreated a Watermelon Greek Salad recipe I discovered on my Norwegian Cruise Lines trip to Alaska. At the time, I was so hungry that I scarfed down the salad before I thought of photographing it. I’ve had to rely on memory and a little experimentation.
This recipe substitutes watermelon for tomatoes. Since it’s easier to find good-tasting watermelon off-season than it is tomatoes, it extends the season when you can serve it. The salad I had on the cruise used a softer feta that I’m used to. It’s possible that the chef used a creamier French feta instead of a firmer Greek one. That gave me the idea to sometimes substitute tangy goat cheese for feta. Although I still prefer the traditional feta, both versions are delicious.
Just like authentic Greek salad, this twist on the classic contains no lettuce. It does use smaller pieces of vegetables, however, making it easier to serve and eat.
The recipe serves six as a side dish. You can easily increase or decrease the amount. Although you can make the vegetables smaller or larger, try to keep them roughly the same size.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann
Watermelon Greek Salad Recipe
1 small red onion or 1/2 large one, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 peeled cucumber, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cup watermelon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup good-quality feta cheese, preferably sheep’s milk and sold in brine, chopped or crumbled. Goat cheese may be substituted.
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole pitted Kalamata olives
Greek salad dressing, either homemade (recipe follows) or bottled.
Place all vegetables except olives in a large bowl and toss to mix. (This can be done a few hours ahead of time.) Just before serving, add olives and cheese. Add enough dressing to moisten, tossing to coat. Serve.
Expect to have leftovers since this makes 1 1/2 cups.
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced or through a press
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
3 T parmesan or finely mashed feta cheese, optional
3/4 cup good-quality olive oil
Method 1: Place all ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. While the processor is running, gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Stop when the dressing is emulsified.
Method 2: Place all ingredients except oil in a large bowl. Whisk to combine, then gradually whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
Method 3: Place all ingredients in a jar and tightly close the lid. Shake until well-blended.