In my short time of blogging I have come to learn that there are more National Food Days than there are days in the year. Liv was particularly excited about January 5th, National Whipped Cream Day, and March 25th, National Waffle Day. Unfortunately, we didn't know that yesterday was National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, but I'm right on track to celebrate National Watermelon Day today!
Watermelon has always been a summer favorite in our household. In a prior post (Sesame-Chile Chicken with Gingered Watermelon Salsa) we discussed methods of finding the perfect melon, and I'm still holding on to the theory that no matter what your method, it involves a fair amount of luck. Luckily, luck was with us as we chose our special Watermelon Day watermelon!
Bright red, juicy and extraordinarily flavorful, we had the perfect melon for our Heirloom Tomato-Watermelon Salad. Also on hand, I had a one pound, beautiful, perfectly ripe, Brandywine Heirloom Tomato. I have never combined watermelon and tomato before and was frankly surprised at how well the two ingredients complemented each together. The original recipe from Epicurious calls for fresh herbs such as mint, basil and dill, but somehow the dill didn't sound quite right to me. I used only the mint and basil in about equal parts and produced a light, summery side salad. The feta cheese crumbled on top provides a welcome saltiness and the fresh arugula gives a nice contrasting texture and peppery bite.
With our third day of mid day sun shining down on us (it's still cloudy and gray every morning...), we fully enjoyed this salad with our meal outside on the patio. Tomorrow is National Lasagna day, but I don't think that is going to work for me. However... I'm wondering if it would be wrong to celebrate National Drink Wine Day (Feb. 18th) in it's place?
adapted from Epicurious
3 cups small chunks of seedless watermelon
2 cups ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom) in assorted colors, cored, cut into chunks
coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground pepper
2½ Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1½ Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs chopped basil
2 Tbs chopped mint
2 cups fresh arugula leaves
crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbs sliced almonds, lightly toasted