We had just flown in to Connecticut, and were at Whole Foods on our way home from the airport. Since good grocery stores are a hefty distance from our house, it has become a tradition to stop on our way back into town. I love Idaho, but its selection of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables doesn't quite compare to Connecticut, so I was thrilled to reenter the world of organic watermelon and stone fruit, berries that don't cost an arm and a leg, and beautiful lettuces... The list goes on. It was produce heaven.
It was already eight thirty at night but still quite hot outside, and eyeing the watermelon I decided it would go perfectly in a refreshing salad the next day. I ran the idea of a melon salad with feta and prosciutto by the Man, and he was quite skeptical. I generally have an extremely high regard for his opinion, but in retrospect I'm not sure why I even asked, because truthfully I was going to make the salad regardless. I knew he'd like it! But I asked. He gave me a sideways "eh" face. And I put the ingredients in the cart, feeling somewhat controlling, but I was pretty excited about the salad. The Man has been known to doubt my kitchen creations. Occasionally I whip up a huge dud in the kitchen, though interestingly enough these flops are never the dishes that he doubts...
He loved it- the salad. Glad I stuck to my guns. (You're welcome, honey!) He also loved the feta for the salad, which he discovered well before the salad was ready. It has taken me a while, but I have now learned to have plenty of extra garnishes on hand because a tall, charming, handsome, scruffy creature tends to nibble on them while I'm still cooking...
Anyway, Whole Foods happened to have a delicious sheep milk feta cheese in brine (aka real feta cheese). The cow's milk cheese to which we have grown accustomed in the United States is actually not truly feta; only cheese made in the Greek style from sheep milk is allowed to use the feta name. So when the man asked what kind of cheese it was, he didn't even believe me when I told him. It really is unrecognizably different. Try the real deal- the feta will blow your mind. (Bet you never thought you'd hear that phrase!) And the soft, crumbly, salty cheese pairs beautifully with the sweet melon and spicy arugula...
Note: Simply omit the prosciutto for a vegetarian option. It's delicious either way.
ARUGULA SALAD WITH WATERMELON, FETA AND PROSCIUTTO
- 5 ounces arugula
- 2 cups watermelon, cubed
- 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces fresh feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigre
- 1 splash of Saba Mosto d'Uva
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the lime juice, balsamic, Saba, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add the arugula and melon to a bowl, and dress with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Arrange the mixture on a plate, fold in some prosciutto slices, and garnish with the feta.