A sweet and salty summer salad with blushing watermelon, plump berries, a scattering of crumbled feta, topped with gleaming balsamic beads, roasted pumpkin seeds and baby basil. And, because we’re doing Christmas in a big way, served in the shape of yet another, Christmas wreath. What fun!
Sometimes the most unlikely combinations are the best. Contrasting flavours and textures keeps food edgy and exciting. This watermelon salad is refreshingly different, with unusual combinations that just work so well. The watermelon has a mellow sweetness compared to the tartness of the blackberries. Crumbly feta adds just enough salt to balance the fruit and then comes the balsamic beads, with an acidic kick to spike up the flavour. Baby basil and micro herbs lend a fresh herbal note, with roasted pumpkin seeds for a toothsome crunch. All this, in one healthy salad. I’m sold. I’ve just had this for breakfast, but it really is intended as a light starter or an accompaniment to your summer barbecue. To me, this looks like a holiday on a plate.
The making of this dish can definitely be delegated to the children. Armed with an assortment of cookie cutters in whatever shape you like, it’s an absolutely fun and a sticky job with plenty of ‘off-cuts’ that require munching in between. Alternatively, cut the watermelon into wedges and layer the salad up on a large serving platter.
The balsamic beads are quite special. These pearly beads are a teeny taste explosion in your mouth, much like popping candy. If you can’t find the beads, drizzle sparingly with balsamic glaze. Be careful not to overdo the drizzle as it’s quire strong and can overpower the fruit easily.
Watermelon, berry and feta salad with balsamic beads and roasted pumpkin seeds
Serves 6 as a starter
watermelon wedges, cut into 1cm thick slices
a handful of mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)
roasted pumpkin seeds
baby basil and micro herbs
freshly ground black pepper
Press out the watermelon shapes and lay on a large, white serving platter in the shape of a wreath. Arrange the berries around and on top of the watermelon. Try to build the layers up to create a little bit of height. Crumble over the feta and scatter with the fresh basil and herbs. Spoon small amounts of the balsamic beads onto the watermelon. Finish with the roasted pumpkin seeds and a generous grinding of black pepper. Serve immediately.