watermelon wedge salad

watermelon wedge salad

The iceberg wedge salad is an old fashioned steakhouse staple, which always makes me think of wood paneled rooms, tufted leather booths, and smoke-filled air. While this particular image is admittedly more from a movie than reality, it certainly doesn’t rank very high on the whimsy scale. And right now (/pretty much every day) I’m in the mood for wooden picnic tables, sunny skies, and fresh air. So while this watermelon wedge salad was inspired by the steakhouse classic, it belongs at all your summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks, and nowhere near anyplace stuffy.

I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on the usual flavors, subbing feta in place of blue cheese, and sprinkling some sumac on top (it’s the perfect thing to add a little extra brightness), but you could totally go traditional on this one and use your favorite roquefort while skipping the sumac. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can thin out full-fat plain yogurt with a little bit of whole milk (although the flavor and consistency will be a bit different than the real deal). But whatever you do, don’t skimp on the chives!

watermelon wedge salad
watermelon wedge salad

watermelon wedge salad

serves 5 generously
total time: 30 minutes
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  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce, cut into 5 1-inch-thick rounds (500g)

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (115g)

  • 1/4 cup mayo (60g)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5g)

  • 1 cup feta crumbles, divided in half (130 g total)

  • 1/3 cup chopped chives (15g)

  • 1/4 of a medium watermelon, cut into 5 1-inch-thick wedges (850g)

  • 2 diced Persian cucumbers (130g)

  • 2 diced roma tomatoes (130g)

  • 2-3 sliced radishes (30g)

  • 3/4 teaspoon sumac (2g)

  1. Place the iceberg rounds/wedges on a large serving platter or individual plates.

  2. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayo, lemon juice, salt, half of the feta, and half the chives. Use the whisk to break up the feta. Once it’s relatively smooth, pour about half over the iceberg pieces.

  3. Top each dressed iceberg piece with a watermelon wedge, and top each with more dressing. Sprinkle on cucumber, tomato, radishes, sumac, and the rest of the feta and chives. Serve immediately.

To make ahead: the components (including the dressing) will keep well stored separately in the refrigerator for a few days. If you’re short on space and containers, you can store the cucumbers and tomatoes together, with the radishes placed on top. Leftovers are still delicious, but it’s best dressed at the last minute (try to dress as much as you think you’ll eat right away).

watermelon wedge salad

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herby corn salad

herby corn salad

My corn and sumac salad is one of my favorite things to cook and eat this time of year. It’s perfect for summer BBQs, picnics, potlucks, and even just simple weeknight dinners. My friend Majed, AKA the Cinnaman, recently tried my recipe, and he made a few fun changes, which inspired me to come up with this herby cousin of the zesty original. I’ve been really into this cilantro + mint version, but you can totally feel free to use whatever herbs you have around—basil, parsley, chives… basically any leafy herbs that you can eat by the bunch (just stay away from perfumey woody herbs, like sage, thyme, and rosemary).

herby corn salad
herby corn salad
herby corn salad
herby corn salad
herby corn salad

herby corn salad

yield: 8 to 10 servings
total time: 30 minutes
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  • 2 lb corn kernels, fresh or frozen (900g)

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (35g)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 cup, tightly packed, cilantro leaves (20g) *

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves (4g)

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (45g)

  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta (100g)

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (30g)

  • 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (250g)

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C) convection (no worries if you don’t have convection—it might just take a couple minutes longer to roast). **

  2. Coat the corn with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste (about ¼ teaspoon). Spread out on a sheet pan in 1 even layer, and roast for 20 minutes for frozen, or just 10 to 15 minutes for fresh. In the last 7 minutes of roasting, sprinkle the pine nuts on top of the corn so they have a chance to get a little light brown.

  3. While the corn is roasting, add the garlic to a food processor, and pulse a couple times until minced. Add the cilantro, mint, 1/4 cup olive oil (55g) to the food processor, and blend until finely minced. Add the lemon juice, and salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon), and blend for about a minute, until everything comes together into a dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  4. Remove the roasted corn and pine nuts to a mixing bowl, add the feta, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and dressing, and toss everything together.

To make ahead: This salad keeps super well, even after tossing together. If you’re making it for company, you can easily toss everything together a couple hours before guests arrive, and leave it in the fridge. Leftovers will keep for at least 2 or 3 days.

* You can substitute parsley or basil instead.
** If it’s the middle of summer and so 1) you don’t feel like turning on your oven and 2) you have plenty of fresh corn on the cob, you can do this instead: Preheat your grill to high. Coat the corn in some olive oil. Place the ears directly on the grates. Rotate the ears when one side develops a nice golden color and a few dark brown spots, being careful not to let the whole side burn. Once they're evenly grilled, remove and cool on a cutting board. Once you can handle them, cut the corn off the ears.

herby corn salad

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