I love summer barbeques just as much as anybody, but if you’re cooking for a lot of people it certainly pays to keep things simple. On Memorial Day I put on a barbeque for thirty-five and was thrilled when so many guests asked me for the watermelon salad recipe. Since then, it’s been a summer staple. The chef-owners of Animal in Los Angeles and coauthors of “Two Dudes, One Pan” Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, deserve a lot of credit for this one. The salad is a whole lot more than your typical watermelon + feta combo because of the bitter-sweet dialogue between the watermelon and arugula elevated by the basil and mint. Prep is a snap.
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/4 cup crumbled feta
8 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups arugula
Mix everything in a large mixing bowl, save the arugula and a bit of feta. Let sit for a minute and toss in those bitter leaves. Serve and top with remaining feta.
Freshness counts for this salad, and it’s also best when served immediately. Despite this, it’s still a great candidate for a potluck.