Recipe: Watermelon Salad uses feta cheese as counterpoint to the sweet fruit

Summer’s heat often lingers long past Labor Day. To my way of thinking the lure of a refreshing watermelon salad, chilled and seductively sweet, is on point throughout early fall in SouthernCalifornia. Variations on the watermelon salad theme are many, but most often the recipes include a frisky cheese.

In this simple watermelon-centric recipe from “Mediterranean,” a cookbook written by Susie Theodorou (Kyle Books, $27.99), feta cheese is the counterpoint to the sweet, crisp melon. A pour-from-the-bottle vinaigrette, and some fresh mint add even more vibrant flavors. If you like, accompany the tasty mix with a slab of crusty baguette.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

About 1 1/4 pounds watermelon, cut into 3/4-to1-inch thick wedges (triangles); see cook’s notes

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh mint, large leaves torn in half

5- to 6-ounces block of feta cheese, broken into chunks

Optional: Edible flowers such as nasturtiums or arugula flowers

Fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, to taste

Cook’s notes: You have the option of leaving the rind on the watermelon if you prefer that presentation. If not, using a sharp knife, cut away the green skin and rind up to where thesweet watermelon flesh begins.

PROCEDURE

1. Layer about 4 watermelon wedges on each plate (or layer all wedges on a platter), slightly overlapping.

2. Drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with mint, feta chunks, and edible flowers if using. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a thin drizzle of balsamicvinegar.

Source: “Mediterranean” by Susie Theodorou (Kyle Books, $27.99)