You know when you’re ordering at a restaurant, and you’re only kind of hungry so you go for a salad, only to become ravenous as plates start landing on other tables? At which point you start hoping and praying that your salad will not be one of those artfully arranged, meager salads, but instead a plate overflowing with hearty ingredients?
That’s how I met this salad. I’m always drawn to the more unusual options on the menu, so I couldn’t resist the watermelon and arugula salad at Blvd Tavern here in Kansas City. Their version also includes pickled watermelon rind, which was awesome but would have doubled the prep time, so I went without here.
I was relieved when my salad arrived on a small-ish plate, but with an impressive amount of food piled on top. It turns out that ripe watermelon tossed with bitter arugula, balanced by creamy feta and Kalamata olives, is a real treat. Trust me. I have no doubt that this salad would be fantastic with big slices of heirloom tomato in lieu of the watermelon, too.
- 5 ounces arugula (about 5 cups, packed)
- 2 cups cubed (about 1") pieces of seedless watermelon (from ½ of a mini watermelon, or about ¼ of a medium watermelon)
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup halved Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- Hefty pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To assemble the salad: In a medium serving bowl, combine the arugula, cubed watermelon, feta and olives.
- To prepare the vinaigrette: In a small liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until blended. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary, keeping in mind that the salad contains some salty ingredients.
- Wait until you're ready to serve to dress the salad, since the arugula will start wilting once it comes into contact with the vinaigrette. Whisk the vinaigrette one more time, then drizzle about half of the vinaigrette over the salad. Gently toss to combine. Add more vinaigrette if necessary to lightly coat the arugula (I only needed about half of mine and saved the rest for a future salad). Serve immediately.
Make it dairy free/vegan: You could probably replace the feta with additional olives.