Put Some Fire In Your Watermelon

Think chilled fruit and spice go together like fire and ice?  Not so.  Adding a little heat to watermelon makes a refreshing side dish.

This quick and simple “salad” is a great way to incorporate this inexpensive ingredient into your main course.  And, on a hot day, you won’t even have to turn your stove on.  You may have seen a few variations on this theme floating around.  But this is the version I like best.  Experiment for yourself.  Try quickly grilling the watermelon first and then chill.  Or add some halved cherry tomatoes to the mix.  No matter what you do, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next BBQ.

Spicy Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad
Serves 4.

Ingredients

1/4 of a ripe seedless watermelon
1/4 cup of diced red onion
1 small jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
10 mint leaves, rubbed and then coarsely chopped
1 lime
1/3 cup of feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Slice watermelon into bite-size chunks.  [Tip: Do this right on the watermelon by slicing across, down and then crosswise for less mess.]  Place the chunks in a medium size bowl.

Add the red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and mint to the watermelon.  Add a few turns of ground pepper.  (You can add salt but it will change the way the watermelon tastes, so I tend not to do that, especially since the cheese will impart a saltiness.)  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the mixture.  To let the flavors mix, chill the watermelon mixture in the frig for at least half an hour.  About an hour before serving, add the feta and toss to combine.  Continue to chill.  There should be a good amount of juice from the watermelon and lime in the bowl.  When you combine the feta, it will take on a slightly milky color.   This tastes best made a few hours to a day ahead.  But it’s still good even if you don’t have time to chill.  Just mix the cheese with the watermelon mixture right away and then chill as long as you can until you need to serve.  [Note:  As always, adjust the amount of hot pepper and cheese as desired.]

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