Cold, refreshing and incredibly easy to make, watermelon salads add unexpected brightness to your summertime dinner table. I appreciate the texture and coolness of the watermelon most when it counters grilled meats and vegetables. We served this salad–watermelon balls with blueberries, fresh mint and a sprinkle of sea salt– in a beautiful glass compote beside grilled salmon and corn plus another salad of sliced heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. A perfect farm-fresh feast.
Even easier, cubed watermelon chunks with fresh mint and sea salt to taste. And a Fourth of July sparkler never hurts! We had this salad alongside the best kind of 4th fare–grilled burgers and Italian sausage, herbed potato salad and grilled corn. Because the watermelon is cut into larger cubes here, you can make the salad a few hours ahead of time and let it sit, covered, in the fridge without having to worry about the watermelon getting too wet.
Here we have watermelon rounds, cherry tomatoes, feta and mint with sea salt and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. This salad has been very popular in food magazines in recent years and it’s my favorite side dish during the summer–which is why I had to have it at my wedding. Our entree was fillet of beef tenderloin with a fresh corn polenta and grilled asparagus.
By Lydia Ellison
Serves 8 as a generous side
Our favorite summer side dish. It’s even better the next day.
• 3 pounds tri-colored baby or new potatoes (Trader Joe’s sells mixed bags of yellow, red and purple which work beautifully). Can also substitute yellow or red or combination of both.
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 1-teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
• 2 shallots, finely diced
• 8 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped
Wash and clean the potatoes. Cut them in half or quarters to that all pieces are approximately the same size and approximately 1-1/2 inches. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Let boil until knife tender, approximately 8 minutes. Drain and place back in the pot, covering with a lid, so that the potatoes stay warm until they are dressed.
While the potatoes are boiling, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and shallots. Add the olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously so that the vinaigrette emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the drained hot potatoes using a spatula to gently turn the potatoes so that the vinaigrette coats them all. Even working gently the potatoes will begin to mash slightly at the edges, but that is ok. This is not a firm potato salad in which each potato remains autonomous—it should be a bit soft. Let the dressed potatoes cool to room temperature.
Reserving some of the herbs for topping the plated dish, Generously sprinkle the potato salad with the chopped herbs, gently mixing so that every potato bite will have some herbs. Scoop the potatoes into a serving platter and top with the reserved herbs. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.