I can't imagine summer without chilled watermelon, its fresh cool juice and crunchy edges. During our summer in Greece last year, every market we visited from Athens to Naxos had stalls selling huge watermelons, all piled up into pyramids or towers. Driving in the country side, there were trucks pulled over on the side of the road selling the hot pink and green fruits - the infamous summer kapouzi was inescapable!
When the weather is so hot that you can't even face cooking, this salad is perfect. The watermelon is tossed together with salty Greek sheep milk feta cheese, mint and Thai basil leaves, sweet red onions and a little hit of chilli. It's best served really chilled, so you can prepare the salad and leave it in the fridge - just add the herbs and pour over the olive oil and toss before serving. It's just like a Greek summer on a plate!
Watermelon, feta and chilli salad ( Σαλάτα με καρπούζι, φέτα και πιπεριά τσίλι)
Serves 4; preparation time 15 mins
1 long (medium hot) red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 handful of small Green cracked olives (I used olives from Nafplio)
2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tablespoons of fresh purple Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
500 grams of fresh watermelon, deseeded and flesh cut in to 3cm cubes
200 grams of Greek sheep/goat milk feta
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly black ground pepper to taste (the feta and olives add salt to the dish, so you shouldn't need to add to much salt)
Combine the watermelon, lime juice, olives, crumbled feta, onion and red chilli in a serving bowl, toss lightly. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Sprinkle with mint and basil leaves and season to taste just before serving. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.