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Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your table.

As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savoury and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your table.

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 limes
  • 1½ kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 250 grams feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 grams pitted black olives
  • black pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 limes
  • 3¼ pounds watermelon (sweet and ripe)
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅔ cup pitted black olives
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes' worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don't lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!
  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes' worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don't lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!

Additional Information

For vegetarians make sure the feta is one that uses vegetarian rennet.

For vegetarians make sure the feta is one that uses vegetarian rennet.

Tell us what you think

What 8 Others have said

  • I made this the other day together with the Crispy Lamb Chops recipe and it was the most perfectly delicious and awesome combinations I've had in a very, very long time! I was just eating it by myself and still I was literally moaning out of pleasure as I put the first 6 or so bites into my mouth. Especially the first few bites of this dish absolutely brings you to heaven! But ultimately the dish is tasty from beginning to end as the watermelon, feta and herbs and seasoning are so complementary! I used quite some more flatleaf parsley then mint since I find fresh mint to be easily overpowering in a savoury dish with its cool and brisk flavour and I often find parsley to be a bit underwhelming in contrast and really enjoy it as a condiment!

    I brought some to my mother the next day as I had plenty and could've never finished it of all at once by myself and she absolutely loved it to and even wanted the recipe for it since she is expecting guests of whom one is vegetarian =)

    Posted by Charleston on 23rd July 2016
  • A lovely combination, made it as part of a summer party buffet. Steeping the onions really does make a big difference. Would definitely recommend anyone to have a go.

    Posted by molliemo on 1st July 2014
  • This salad has become a staple with my family and friends. It's just not a good braai (barbecue) without it! Give it a try you'll LOVE IT!!!

    Posted by bradkla1980 on 8th July 2013
  • Wow I´d never have thought this combination could work, but since I happened to have all ingredients at home I gave it a try. It´s wonderful and great as a light dinner after a hot summer day. I'll definitely make it again! Thank you Nigella.

    Posted by sugarmouserl on 15th July 2013
  • I made half the recipe (supposed to be for 4) just for me and my husband. And it was over in 30 minutes! But I used mint instead of parsley, because that's what I had at home... Wonderful!

    Posted by renatamattos11 on 27th August 2012
  • We love this combination. The Turks love this with a sprinkling of pomegranate molasses added at the end. Delicious with chunks of village break mmmmm

    Posted by ToniEllen on 14th October 2011
  • Dear Nigella, Being a Greek myself, I have to tell you that you have great imagination combining onion with watermelon :) We've never thought of it :) Great Recipe! Congratulations!!!!!

    Posted by polirene on 24th June 2011
  • My late Father, Greek to the core, would always swear that a meal was never complete without a bowl of fresh watermelon, Sheep's Feta, Kalamata Olives and the freshest, crustiest bread to mop up the gorgeous juices....Bless him, I couldn't agree more! xx

    Posted by GardenLarder on 16th June 2011
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