Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gilded Lily's Balsamic Watermelon Feta Salad

We love serving this refreshing watermelon feta salad to guests at our outdoor summer dinner parties. The salty feta balances the sweet watermelon, the peppery arugula adds a little kick, and the balsamic vinegar adds a tasty tang. Adding fresh mint gives it that extra refreshing summery flavor. It's perfect as a side dish or appetizer salad. You can make it a couple hours before guests are due to arrive, plate it ahead of time, set over a bowl of ice, and then serve cold.

Start by scattering fresh arugula on a serving platter. If you want more flavor, begin by tossing the arugula in a tiny amount - half a teaspoonful - of Leonardo y Roberto Basil Olive Oil, then place the arugula on your serving platter. You don't want too much oil as the watermelon adds a lot of liquid to the salad as your guest eats it.

For a simple four-person appetizer salad, I used a miniature watermelon. ("Seedless," of course, but it does contain lots of little white seeds). I cut a flat part out of the bottom to help it stand up while I sliced the watermelon thinly (about an inch-and-a-half thickness to allow for bite sized cut pieces).

To add interest and flair to your salad, try cutting out fun shapes with your cookie cutters. I chose a star and round biscuit cutter for this salad today. Cut carefully so you maximize your watermelon. Save scraps and edges to make fresh Watermelon Margaritas. Plan on about eight to ten watermelon shapes per guest.

After cutting out all the shapes, gently pat them with a paper towel or dish towel to absorb some of the moisture on both sides. Place the watermelon shapes on top of the arugula, arranging them attractively.

Next I used a chef's squeeze bottle (actually just the cap) to drizzle our tasty Leonardo y Roberto balsamic vinegar oil on top of the watermelon.

I used Black Currant balsamic vinegar, but our other flavors (Pomegranate, Vanilla Fig, and Traditional) work just as well. Other recipes for watermelon salads call for you to take the time to make balsamic reductions, but our balsamic vinegars from Leonardo y Roberto are already thick and rich.

Finish by sprinkling feta and chopped mint leaves over your salad. Use tiny chopped feta for more flavor, or bigger chunks of feta for a more attractive presentation to show off your watermelon shapes.

You can customize your salad by adding thin slivers of red onion, chunks of peeled cucumber, goat cheese instead of feta, and chopped pistachios if you like.

Shop for Leonardo y Roberto and our other gourmet balsamic vinegars, olive oils and gourmet foods at the Gilded Lily in Wenatchee!

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