Watermelon and Heirloom Tomatoes Salad

Thanks to Alyssa Harad's inspiration, I've been enjoying this salad repeatedly this summer. Also one of those salads that holds shape; therefore making it a perfect picnic food that won't wilt by the time you hit the beach!

This salad is so easy to make it's almost ridiculous - but the results are mind-blowing spectacular. It will make an impressive appetizer or salad course.

To make it you will need very few and simply ingredients. It's a great example for a recipe where the result is far greater than the sum of its parts. If you are already a lover of the classic Balkan & Mediterannean combination of salty feta cheese and sweet-juicy watermelon, the rest will come natural to you. Unlike most of my salads, this calls for no acidic component (lemon, lime or vinegar). There is enough juiciness coming from the watermelon and split tomatoes. And plenty of complementary flavour from the feta and olive oil. Make sure you use the best ingredients for truly stunning results!

1/4 ripe yet firm watermelon
4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, of varying shapes and colours
2 scallions, or 1/4 onion (sweet or red Spanish - depending on how spicy you want your salad to be!), thinly sliced
150-200gr diced Macedonian feta cheese (or look for another kind that is creamy and full of flavour - you don't want it to be too dry in texture)
Black Nicoise olives
Handful of hand-torn basil leaves
2 Tbs top-quality olive oil (unfortunate, most of the Italian olive oil that comes to Canada is poor quality; try to find olive oil from Greece or Lebanon as it has much more body and the desired olive fruit flavour)

Cut the watermelon into large cubes or small wedges. Quarter the tomatoes. toss with the sliced onions and torn basil. Top with olives and diced feta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and toss just before you serve into each diner's plate.

Watermelons, Jazz & Ghetto

Watermelon Salad at DOSA
It was not too long after the book reading ended that I realized that if I have any chance of having a quiet moment in this eventful weekend, it would be now, for a short lunch break. I had to head over to the Pacific Heights neighbourhood, and teach my 2nd perfume class ever in San Francisco at Alex Sandor's studio. I also needed to eat something inspiring, and relax a bit, if at all possible. Fillmore's jazz festival was on at full capacity, with mardi gras bands popping in every corner. Nikki Sherrit accompanied me for a lunch at DOSA, and for about an hour of sanity, we just enjoyed quiet conversation with a completely familiar face, and without needing to smell anything from a scent strip.

We had a couple of delicious dosas (Souther Indian crepe made of garbanzo flour and filled with anything your heart desired, plus an overdose of spice), and this amazing watermelon and basil salad (also spicy beyond the necessary, which works better than coffee in waking me up).

Building Blocks
Natural Raw Materials for Perfumery - Photo by Jessie Glass

And than I tried to make my way to Alex' studio but ended up going down Fillmore instead of upwards, and ended in what I later learned was the "Ghetto" (which I kinda figured out based on how many heads were turning to watch me go and making comments I was mostly trying to not hear). It was a bit unnerving, and could not for the life of me hail a taxi cab. I don't get easily unsettled, and Vancouver is well known for having way less than pleasant street corners; but walkers by kept giving me wrong directions (which brought me to the "Ghetto" to begin with), and I was starting to seriously run out of time; so I just used the best navigation tool I could think of at the moment and called Alex for directions to get me out of there fast.

Perfumery Session in Progress
Perfume Making Class July 7th @ Alex Sandor Studio - Photo by Jessie Glass

The class went very well, and one of the students, Jessie Glass, is a professional photographer, so we have a bunch of pretty pictures from the whole class, which you can fully view on Flickr. Here are just some of my personal favourites though (there is something to be said about photos of people smelling stuff):

Custom natural perfumes from the July 7th  class at Alex Sandor's studio

Ayala & Carol
Ayala & Carol - photo by Jessie Glass
Ayala & Alex
Ayala & Alex - photo by Jessie Glass
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