With watermelons at their peak, here’s a refreshing cool salad. Serves 4. From Karen Martini’s “Salads & Vegetables” Published by Plum. RRP. $39.99
This is such a vibrantly refreshing salad – perfect hot weather food to eat as near as possible to the beach. I’ve played with many versions
of this dish over the years, and although it is pretty amazing just with the crunch of fresh watermelon, the salted and pressed version provides a deliciously intense contrast that I adore. Add in the gentle flavour of beautifully fresh prawns – though you could skip them for a vegetarian version – salty feta, which balances the sweetness, and an undercurrent of anise and you’ve got – yes, I’m going to say it – summer on a plate. You’ll need to start this recipe the day before.
• 3 tablespoons ouzo (or pastis)
• 1½ tablespoons caster sugar
• salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 kg seedless watermelon
• 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• juice of ½ lemon
• 1 handful of dill fronds
• 1 handful of mint leaves, torn
• 800 g cooked prawns, peeled and deveined, tails on
• 4 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced on an angle
• 150 g feta
1. Combine the ouzo, sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl.
2. Trim the rind off the watermelon and cut out two 3-cm-thick squares about 10 cm × 10 cm. Cut the rest of the watermelon into large dice and reserve. Place the two squares of watermelon into a large ziplock bag sitting next to each other (not stacked) and pour in the ouzo mix. Press the air out of the bag, seal and sit flat on a plate. Place another plate on top to weigh it down and refrigerate overnight.
3. When ready to serve, cut the salted watermelon into large dice and arrange on a serving platter with the fresh watermelon.
4. Combine the oil and lemon juice in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and prawns, toss through and arrange over the watermelon. Scatter over the spring onion, crumble over the feta and serve immediately.