My favorite summertime memories go a little something like this: running in backyards with childhood friends, smelling honeysuckles – delicately tasting the nectar of the blossoms – and eating ice cold watermelon in the Georgia sunshine. Some of my relatives specifically enjoyed sprinkling a little salt on their melon. Seeing as how hypertension runs in my family, probably not the best idea! But the beautiful memories shared during those family gatherings remain with me today.
Last June I grew my first crop of watermelon and loved every moment of it! One plant produced over 10 melons! It took about 70 days for the plant to produce the fruit, but once it came in, I wasn’t disappointed. The melons grew large and the fruit was incredibly sweet, fresh and inviting. Very much like this recipe for Watermelon Arugula Salad, courtesy of Ina Garten. I made this salad with a friend last summer, using one of my fresh-picked melons (see photo below) and it was delicious, simple, and healthy.
As we head into the second week of June, this would be a great recipe for you to consider trying. Check out your local farmer’s market or a produce shop that carries local melons from your area (organic is always wonderful) and make this salad this week! Comment below and let me know how it goes.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/8th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced
1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned
Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper.
Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.
Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.