Summer has been in full hot swing for weeks and weeks here in Houston. Strawberry season was celebrated earlier in the summer, with strawberry festivals adding live music to the sweet scent of ripe red summer kings. Big now (and quite literally so) are watermelons: colossal green oblongs girdling juicy red flesh. Nothing beats a slice of fresh watermelon on a hot summer day, when its free-run juices bring relief to a parched palate.
Also popular at our lunch or dinner table is this refreshing summertime salad. Strawberry and watermelon combine with beetroot and fresh herbs, a hint of lemon and the crunch of sea salt flakes. Once you've tried it, you'll be making it all summer long.
Strawberry, Watermelon & Beetroot Salad
(serves 3-4 as appetizer)
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup diced watermelon
1 cup julienne-cut raw red beetroot
1 tbsp handful fresh mint (small leaves)
1 tbsp handful fresh basil (small leaves)
1 tbsp lemon oil (homemade or store-bought, or use olive oil + a sprinkling of grated lemon zest)
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
a good sprinkle of sea salt flakes
1/2 cup good quality crumbly goat cheese (optional)
How easy is this salad? Just build the layers: beetroot first, strawberry and watermelon next, herbs and raw onion and crumbled goat cheese divided on top. The lemon juice, sea salt and citrus oil are sprinkled over the salad very last minute. Serve as is for prettiness, but toss before you eat to infuse all the flavors.
ps. instead of goat cheese, try this watermelon, strawberry & beetroot salad alongside smoked salmon, or even better: with your own cured Pacific wild salamon (recipe here).
Or try the strawberry, watermelon & beetroot salad as a garnish with watermelon gazpacho for a beautiful flavor range of summer red.
1 cup chopped watermelon
1 cup peeled tomato
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onion
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
1/2 serrano chili peper (or other green chili)
salt/pepper to taste
Whizz all in the blender, taste and adjust if needed, et voila.
This recipe was inspired by a series initiated by Ren Behan's Simple & In Season, and My Custard Pie.
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