Salads need to be spectacular. They are so much more than a bowl of healthy greens splattered with a creamy dressing. This is one of those salads.
This is a contemporary salad that plays with Greek flavours. The watermelon adds a lovely sweetness and the greens an earthy base. the salad is brought alive with the melted feta and the sweet raisin-oregano dressing. this is a superb salad and perfect for a casual dinner or formal event. The magic lies in the contrast between the cold watermelon and the hot feta.
Maria Elia is one of my favourite chefs and cookbook authors. I have all her books, and this one stands out for authentic and modern Greek flavours, like this dish. This book is a result of her experimentation at her father's tavern in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus. It is a mix of traditional recipes from visiting villages and being allowed into the local kitchens. But the other recipes are her interpretations of traditional Greek dishes with a modern twist. The book is packed with folklore and knowledge, and every recipe I have cooked from here is outstanding. This is probably my favourites Greek cookbook on my shelf.
For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.
For the dressing:
1/3 cup yellow raisins
1/2cup warm water
2 shallots, chopped
1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Zest of 1/4 orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
For the salad:
1 watermelon, peeled and chopped into blocks
7 0z. fest
A generous pinch of dried red red pepper flakes
8 cups mixed baby greens
2 tablespoons pine nuts, light y toasted
Microgreens, if available
Make the dressing by soaking the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain the plumped raisins well.
Add the raisins, shallots, garlic, vinegar, orange zest and juice, olive oil, oregano and salt to a small blender and purèe to a smooth dressing. Add the chilli flakes and mix in. Taste for salt, herb and acid and adjust as needed. the dressing should be sweet-tart-spicy and bold.
To assemble the salad:
Cut the feta into blocks or wedges. Layer on foil and rub well with the chilli flakes. Wrap and seal well.
Heat the oven to 375 °F.
bake the feta for 4-5 minutes.
Layer a large bowl, or individual salad bowls with the greens. Top with a slice of the chilled watermelon. Top with hot feta. Drizzle the dressing all over and top with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.