It's soooo hot in Amsterdam, these days. That's why I often only feel like having "just" a salad for lunch. I say "just" a salad because I love rich salads, with intriguing, colourful ingredients. A salad like the one I made today, inspired by the classic combination of watermelon and feta and dedicated to a beautiful country that's having a difficult time, Greece.
For my homage to Greece I'm using Greek sheep/goat feta cheese (these days I support the Greek economy buying Greek products) because I'm slightly intolerant to cow's milk and because I totally love sheep and goat cheeses.
It's a very European salad: the coeur de boeuf tomatoes come from France, the feta cheese from Greece, the watermelon from Spain, the Spring onions from Holland, my own import organic olive oil from Puglia (check it out here, tab "Organic olive oil from Puglia") and the rucola is Italian too. Long live a united, sunny, healthy Europe!
The colours are bright and inviting, the taste exciting and refreshing. The sweetness of watermelon and balsamic vinegar is compensated by the perfect saltiness of the feta cheese and the slight acidity of the vinegar.
Try this salad this very weekend and make lots of it. Present it in a big serving dish (visually it's the best option) or otherwise use one-person's dishes, quite big if you can. It's a bit more work but the result is great too.
If you don't have the coeur de boeuf (literally "ox heart", cuore di bue in Italian) variety you can of course use any type of heirloom tomatoes, their taste and shape is just fantastic.
And instead of slivered raw almonds for the pesto you can use raw pine nuts.
VEGAN VERSION: use deep black Taggia olives instead of beautiful white feta cheese to add some deep, lovely saltiness to the salad.
The beautiful little bowl and spoon for the dressing are by Annemieke Boots Ceramics.
Insalata con anguria, pomodori cuore di bue e pesto di rucola e mandorle
2 handfuls of rucola (arugula) plus 2 handfuls for the dressing
1 big coeur de boeuf (or heirloom) tomato, thinly sliced
1 1/2 big slices of watermelon, in wedges
1/3 cucumber, with its skin, in chunks
120 gr. (1/2 cup) of Greek sheep/goat feta cheese
1-2 yellow tomatoes, in chunks
handful of pecans
1-2 Spring onions, quartered
1/2 handful of slivered raw almonds
2 spoons of balsamic vinegar
e.v. olive oil
Make the dressing mixing in the robot 2 handfuls of rucola, almonds, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and enough olive oil to make it quite liquid.
Spread 2 handfuls of rucola on a big plate, then cover with 4-5 thin slices of coeur de boef or heirloom tomato.
Spread the rest of the ingredients over the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the dressing.
Enjoy listening to Italy's sexiest voice, Mario Biondi.