If you were trying to build the perfect summer salad, I don't know if you could do better than this refreshing combination of watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, and feta.
My version is a humble effort at recreating the same salad served at The Hungry Cat in Los Angeles, where we recently passed through on the way to a week-long vacation in Hawaii. The salad was refreshing, juicy, sweet, and salty -- and the perfect starter before downing The Hungry Cat's excellent tempura-fried soft-shell crab.
To make the salad, rough-hewn chunks of seedless wartermelon are combined with wedges of the ripest heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, feta, and basil. The combination of tomatoes and watermelon may seem unlikely, but it works: the sweetness of the melon brings out the inherent sweetness of the tomatoes (which are fruits too, after all). A sprinkling of sea salt adds some contrast, as does the tangy feta.
Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Serves 2 generously or 4 reasonably
3/4 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed
3/4 pound heirloom tomatoes (about two large tomatoes)
3 ounces feta cheese
8 leaves basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt, to taste
1. Cut the watermelon into large, imperfect chunks and slice the heirloom tomatoes into wedges. Combine in a bowl.
2. Crumble feta over the watermelon and tomato mixture, add basil, torn by hand, and toss gently with olive oil.
3. Season, to taste, with sea salt. Enjoy immediately before the fruit releases too much juice.
Kitchen Notes: The original dish also included sliced red onions. I forgot to purchase them, but they weren't missed.