Test Kitchen - Watermelon Summer Salad

Oh the heat has us sweating, doesn't it? My Test Kitchen ingredient to use last week was a pineapple balsamic vinegar which seems perfect for something summery. Readers Shari and Petey mentioned watermelon in their suggestions of how to use the tart vinegar, so I ran with the idea and utilized more of Duc's beautiful sweet basil. These babies have been growing strong and long in his indoor herb garden (ask him about it - he'll talk your ear off about his awesome project!) so I have been taking advantage of them. This is definitely a summertime salad with watermelon, feta, red onion, and basil. If you don't have the pineapple balsamic vinegar on hand, you can easily substitute with regular balsamic vinegar and lemon juice; not quite the same but tasty enough.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 3-4 servings)

  • 1/2 small watermelon, 1" cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 20-25 sweet basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, 1/4" cubes
  • 2 tbsps pineapple balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground rainbow peppercorn, to taste
  • black lava sea salt, for finishing (optional)

Step 2: Prepping ingredients
Salads are  generally easy peasy. It's just the prepwork that takes a little bit of time. You'll need to slice a small watermelon in half and remove the rind. Cube in approximately 1" pieces. Thinly slice a red onion and add to watermelon. Roll up basil before slicing into ribbons. Slice feta into 1/4" cubes. Gently combine.

Step 3: Finishing
Finish the salad with the balsamic vinegar and freshly ground peppercorn. I used pineapple vinegar for its tartness but you can easily use regular balsamic vinegar with lemon or lime juice. As for the peppercorn, I enjoy the subtle differences in rainbow peppercorn but you can use black if needed. If needing more saltiness, finish with a coarse salt (I opted for a black lava sea salt). It will contribute a great crunch. Enjoy!

This week's Test Kitchen ingredient: thai ginger sea salt
Another salt from what my brother sent me is up for a Test Kitchen post! This time, it's an interesting Thai ginger type. The website for the company that produces this describes it thus: "This all natural sea salt is infused with fresh ginger giving it a crisp, fresh and delightfully spicy finish. No synthetic flavorings or colors added! Coarse grain." It's quite curious. What do you think? Comment when the picture goes up on Facebook!

Photography by Duc Duong because Minerva was too busy "taste-testing" the delicious, delicious salad (quality control is important!).