Nothing says summer like watermelon. By the slice, in a margarita or even a gazpacho. This summer has heralded in a handful of delicious watermelon salads around town, too. Yes, it’s true. Watermelon salad is nothing new. But did you know it might actually be a vegetable, and is a member of the cucumber family? It’s no wonder the fruit — er, vegetable? — pairs well with cheese, olives and even tomato. Here are ones that have us drooling.
While not something you’d automatically think to toss together in your salad bowl, Hayden’s Post’s combination of Mediterranean olives, red onion, crumbled goat cheese and Marcona almonds is genius. Tossed with a chili vinaigrette and micro herbs, there’s a punch from olives that balances the light flavor of the melon.
Fresh and locally grown arugula offers a surprising and spicy counterpoint to the sweetness of the watermelon in this salad from Calico, tossed in honey and lime and served with goat cheese and sea salt.
This hearty salad full of sunflower seeds and feta is substantial enough to make it a full meal. Find it at Bin 22 served with watercress and feta and tossed in apple balsamic dressing.
Bin’s sister restaurant, The Kitchen, gives the salad a twist with the addition of heirloom tomato, feta, vertical harvest micro greens and lemon-oregano vinaigrette. If this sounds like a strange combination, just remember the old adage: What grows together goes together. And since tomatoes are a fruit, this combo makes even more sense.
Compressing the watermelon in this salad results in a more concentrated flavor, with a denser texture and more colorful appearance. Local adds contrast with salty, crispy prosciutto (a new twist to pairing prosciutto with melon). They also include cucumbers, watercress and targouda cheese. Everything is tossed with a simple mix of extra virgin olive oil and honey vinegar.
The gang at Glorietta is also compressing watermelon for its take on the summer salad. Here, find it with pickled shallots, Castelvetrano olives and Calabrian chile for a tangy, cool starter. For anyone who finds watermelon too sweet, then this is the salad for you. The piquant zest of the shallots and chilies, along withe savory tang of the olives, will leave you want to lick the plate clean.