Summer may be winding to a close, but it’s not too late to enjoy one of the season’s signature fruits: watermelon. And with a good extra virgin olive oil and other ingredients like good vinegar and feta cheese, you can create a sweet and savory watermelon salad. (Click here to see the featured recipe.) Chicago chef Stephanie Izard has her own flavor-packed version, which includes arugula, extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, and crumbled feta.
“The balsamic-honey reduction adds acidity, fresh arugula brings a bit of savory spice, and some salty and rich feta cheese ties it all together,” Izard writes in her book, Girl in the Kitchen (Chronicle Books, 2011), where this recipe appears. Izard is chef-owner of the popular Chicago eatery, Girl & the Goat.
For the salad, watermelon cubes are sprinkled with sea salt, a combination that yields a “salty crunch” that balances out the natural flavors, according to Izard. The vinegar and honey are heated in a small pot until syrupy, and then poured over the watermelon. (Click here to see the featured recipe.)
The arugula, meanwhile, is dressed with the extra virgin olive – you could try our Arbequina – salt, and pepper, and then piled atop the watermelon. The dish gets a finishing drizzle of the vinegar syrup and a sprinkle of feta before being served.
“There’s really nothing better on a warm summer day,” Izard says.
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