A salty and sweet grilled watermelon and feta salad perfect for summer eating!
This recipe proves (to us at least) that our parents have always been ahead of the game, trendsetters and taste-masters, flavour fanatics. What appears to be a warm-weather craze these days has been a staple in our parents’ kitchen for as long as we can remember. Watermelon and feta salads are incredibly popular, and with good reason. People are in love with the salty, sweet, fresh and bright combination that is created when a ripe, juicy watermelon is tossed together with some great Greek feta. Although ingenious and surprising to many, we grew up on this stuff. As kids we loved watermelon, as did our girls, and our parents discovered that combining other foods with this favourite fruit was a sure-fire way to maximize nutritional intake (always goals for yiayia and pappou!). Feta and watermelon was always a winner combination and it was therefore on constant repeat. Other combinations were less popular (for the record, don’t try to feed anyone you love watermelon mixed with spanakorizo…it’s gross).
We have adapted this recipe a little bit from the way that our parents typically make it. Here, we suggest that you grill the watermelon. Our parents think that grilling watermelon is ridiculous, but doing so brings a deep, rich and smoky flavour to the fruit and intensifies its sweetness. If you prefer not to grill the watermelon, that’s fine too (and much easier). It is equally delicious and in fact, an un-grilled watermelon salad will taste brighter and fresher. You can also please both our parents and us by grilling half your watermelon, and leaving the rest au naturel!
In this recipe we make our own version of balsamic glaze by heating up some balsamic vinegar. If you happen to have balsamic glaze in your pantry, or have been looking for a reason to pick up a bottle, go ahead. Otherwise, reduce some regular balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pot. Keep a close eye on it however; the vinegar will go from too liquid-y to a semi-solid mass of goo very quickly. The balsamic glaze is definitely going to elevate this grilled watermelon and feta salad from something great to something phenomenal!
Grilled watermelon and feta salad
- 4 wedges of watermelon, each about 1 inch thick, with the rind still on
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped green (spring) onion
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- Brush both sides of the watermelon wedges with olive oil. Place them on a hot grill for about 30 - 60 seconds per side, until you start to see some nice grill marks.4 wedges of watermelon, each about 1 inch thick, with the rind still on, 1 tbsp olive oil
- Allow the watermelon to cool and then cut the wedges into 1 inch thick cubes, discarding the rind.
- While the watermelon is cooling, make your balsamic reduction by pouring the balsamic vinegar in a very small pot and heating it over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the vinegar; you want it to be reduced and end up thick, but still pourable. It can easily become overly reduced and thick like molasses (and not pourable at all). Once your balsamic vinegar has reduced to your liking, remove it from the heat and set it aside.1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- In a large bowl combine the watermelon, the feta, the green (spring) onion, the mint and the black pepper. Toss carefully.1/2 cup Greek feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, 1/4 cup chopped green (spring) onion, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Arrange the salad on serving plates and carefully drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad. Pour on as much as you would like, to taste.