Like a magnet, I directed my steps towards one of the narrow streets leading into the city centre. It was a hot day by my standard but not for the sun lovers of this beach city ~ the largest in the Belgian Coast. I'm not a sun worshipper since childhood days. I disliked putting sun lotion/sun block repeatedly on my face and body to be bake like lobster :-P Besides, few days ago a documentary in TV5 Monde showed that certain chemicals in sun block caused coral bleaching, increased skin cancer and a research done in Zurich discovered certain chemicals in sunblock brands caused genital deformation in rats (sorry, animal lovers... I think in this case, it's unavoidable) which I definitely not going to apply it on my son or on any kids! I'm going to get an organic sun block for the family in my next shopping trip :-) If you need to go out to the beach or errands, wear proper sun protector ~ proper clothing, hat, umbrella, sunglass, synthetic-free chemical sunblock and stay in the shade as much as possible. Be safe and still enjoy the warmth of the sunshine!
Now, back to this little street I mentioned earlier... Under the influence of the hot sun, there's only one thing focused in my mind ~ watermelon! Standing at its usual spot was the shop I usually tagged along for fast (also emergency) and convenient food supply. What surprised me was, right in front of me was a large crate of... Greek Watermelons! Yep... all the way from Hellas! My hubby jokingly said the fruits must had been following us back! :-D
During my recent trip to Athens, Greece I had the opportunity to taste some fabulous local fruits from the organic farmers' market. One of such fruits is the large oblong shaped, sweet, juicy and red watermelon! I was treated with watermelon and feta cheese salad in my Greek friend's home. I read somewhere long time ago about this weird combination but to taste it right in front of me, is a heaven sent! :-D As I searched further into this salad, some people added red onions, fresh mint, olives, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar and some don't. Can any Greek foodies furnish me with more info about this salad?
For my easy version, I used half of the watermelon (the other half reserved only for me!) and a packet of Dodoni Feta Cheese AOP/PDO (200g) which I found creamier and milder than the traditional sheep's milk Greek feta. There are certain ingredients that I didn't added in as I don't have them in the pantry at that moment but the combination of tastes were great even with simplest basic ingredients. This recipe is for my Greek friend, who's also my son's 'nounos', Axilleas S. in mind with no raw onions added. It's 'yucks' for him! Thank you for the fabulous meli (from the beekeeper-seller at the back of your house) and the several litres of best quality extra virgin olive oil which had me worried about the transporting condition throughout the airports :-P
Watermelon & Feta Salad (Karpouzi Me Feta)Serves 4-6
½ Watermelon ~ preferably seedless and sweet variety
150 g Greek Feta (preferably authentic Greek Feta)
For the salad dressing:
Generous amount quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used 60 ml)
Freshly Grounded Black Pepper to taste
Rice Vinegar to taste (optional ~ I used about about 10-20 ml)
Fleur De Sel to taste
Some Fresh Basil ~ chiffonade
1. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin oil, grounded black pepper, fleur de sel and rice vinegar until combined. Set aside.
2. Remove the rind of watermelon and cut into bite sizes. You can cubed or use a melon baller if you like them in rounds. Pour in the dressing and mix gently with the watermelon chunks. Chill them in a salad bowl until needed.
3. Before serving, crumble the feta cheese around the watermelon chunks.
4. Sprinkle with the 'chiffonade' fresh basil leaves and serve.
Note: You can omit the vinegar if you like. I tried with and without vinegar before and it's only slight difference in tastes. For me, the vinegar is to prevent browning of fruits and to cut down the olive oil. This salad is great with Souvlaki, BBQ meat and sausages... it's refreshing and yummylicious! Another way I like is serving the watermelon with Heart of Palm. It's amazing taste too!