Watermelon and Feta salad
A few years ago, some Israeli friends came to visit me in August. We had a fantastically huge meal, and all collapsed on the couch in that semi-comatose state that one does after gorging oneself. And then one of them sat up and said “I’m going for watermelon”. I groaned. I forgot about Israelis and their watermelons– every time I go during the summer, they’re EVERYWHERE. Even the mere mention of more food made me want to explode (nope, not even a wafer thin mint), but I tell ya, when he brought back that watermelon, and chopped it up, and sprinkled some salt on it, with the sun setting and the air still with late summer heat, it was just the most perfect thing.
I was driving around like a madwoman today, running errands. I stopped at a stop-light, and a cool breeze blew down Wilshire Boulevard, and blew through my car, and I closed my eyes and sighed. That was when I knew that the watermelon that I’d picked up last week would be put to good use after all.
Yep, summer is here in Los Angeles.
One of the things that I love about this local-seasonal lifestyle is just how much SENSE everything seems to make. For example, let’s look at what’s blooming right now. The wild roses are big and pink and fragrant. The bush mallows are starting to open. The black sage is still blooming, though not for long, and the white sage is just about to bloom. All of these herbs are cooling and/ or help to keep the fluids in the body (the sages are really super good at this). In the case of bush mallow, it helps to replenish the fluids at the same time as it cools. See how clever nature is, to provide us with these things just when we need them!
At the farmers markets, the melons are just starting to come out. Even if I see watermelons at other times of year (a common occurrence in LA, where we have a year-round growing season), I don’t actually buy them. They’re just SO cooling that they give me digestive problems if I eat them when it’s too cold outside*. But during the hot dry summers, I could swim in watermelon.
So the first thing I did when I got home today (after I took off my ridiculously too-cool-weathered clothes) was make myself a watermelon and feta salad. A throwback to hot summers in Tel Aviv. If it’s hot where you are, you have to try this. Really.
Watermelon and Feta Salad
2 cups watermelon, chopped into bite-size cubes
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (my favourite feta in the world is made by Pastures of Eden and is available at Trader Joe’s)
handful mint leaves, chopped finely
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt (I use Hawaiian black sea salt)
Throw watermelon and feta in a bowl. Add chopped mint. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Toss and serve. I probably didn’t even need to write instructions for that but oh well <grin>.
*This, by the way, is a common issue with people now that we as a society are convinced that a salad is the healthiest thing for us. I can’t tell you how many people I meet who have digestive issues, or symptoms arising from these issues– bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, difficulty digesting things in general, weak limbs, foggy thinking– and then come to find out that they eat a big salad every day because it’s healthy. Even in the middle of winter. In London.