I first tried this when Bill Smith, chef of the famed Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, made a similar salad for a magazine feature. I know what you’re probably thinking—strange combination, right? But let me tell you, it really works. As much as I trust Bill’s palate, even I was surprised by how well the mild-sweet melon and acid-sweet tomato went together. I have since made many variations using different kinds of melons, tomatoes, herbs, and cheese, but this one is my all-time favorite. Photo to the left by Peter Frank Edwards.
SERVES 6 TO 8
3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), cored and cut into chunks, or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups cubed watermelon
½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (about 2 ounces) shaved fresh feta (preferably French)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1. Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint, basil, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad and serve with lime wedges and sea salt for squeezing and sprinkling on top.