This past Sunday night was Book Club night. You might recognize this night by it's other, more common, name: A-Great-Reason-To-Get-Together-And-Eat-And-Drink night. We always discuss the book we just read but I'd be lying if I said we didn't also stuff our faces and thoroughly hydrate ourselves with wine; I believe that's official Book Club law.
Back when Book Club was started I had high hopes of always matching my food contribution to a theme in the current book. This plan lasted all of about two meetings: a homemade briyani for Unaccustomed Earth; for A Thousand Splendid Suns a homemade red lentil dal. Then, like the rebellious bookworm that I am, by the third meeting I showed up with a homemade black bean salsa and an I-don't-care-if-this-matches-the-book attitude (which took the form of hanging my head in shame and begging forgiveness from the other more creative members).
I knew I was going to want to make some sort of summer salad for this get together, but I wanted something new and interesting and definitely something that would meet these very strict criteria: 1) It had to be simple to make, 2) It had to be delicious, and 3) It had to be refreshing. I also did not want to go near the oven, I only turn that on when the weather is well above 100 degrees F.
I found this recipe and the fact that the main ingredient is watermelon hooked me, that definitely sounded interesting and delicious and refreshing. Add feta cheese, cucumber, pickled onions and fresh herbs and you have my new favorite summer salad. Seriously.
Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions and Feta
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2-1/2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1) Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl (onions through salt); let stand for 30 minutes. Drain.
2) Combine balsamic vinegar, oil, and pepper in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add onion mixture, watermelon and cucumber; toss gently to coat. Gently stir in mint and basil; top with cheese.