When I first started cooking with Chelsea, my summer intern, I asked her what she'd like to learn to make, and what ideas of her own she'd like to test. This watermelon, feta and arugula salad was the first dish she mentioned; the taste of a sample at a grocery store had stayed with her, and she wanted to recreate it. While it was easy to remember the salad components, the dressing posed a mystery, so we decided to create our own using a navel orange, a mint leaf, and pantry staples. The counterplay of the tart orange dressing against the sweet watermelon made us happy, and though I'm not a huge fan of arugula, I loved its peppery contribution to this salad. If this is what college students are cooking, I'm going back to school.
Watermelon, feta and arugula salad with orange vinaigrette
Serves 2; can be doubled.
For the dressing:
Zest of 1/2 navel orange, plus juice of 1 orange
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large spearmint leaf
1/2 tsp honey
Pinch black pepper
Pinch kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
2 cups baby arugula leaves
2 cups diced watermelon
3-4 small cherry or Juliet tomatoes, diced
4 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
In a blender, combine the orange zest and juice, mustard, mint, honey, pepper and salt. Whiz for a few seconds, and add the oil. Blend until the dressing is emulsified and the color is a pretty yellow-orange. Set aside.
Arrange half of the arugula on each plate. Top with half of the watermelon and tomatoes. Sprinkle half of the cheese on each plate, and drizzle the dressing over all. (If you have extra dressing, you can store it in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Strawberry watermelon agua fresca, from Simply Recipes
Watermelon mojito popsicles, from Endless Simmer
Watermelon rind preserves, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Grilled watermelon salad, from Recipe Girl
Thai watermelon salad, from Shutterbean
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