As improbable as it might sound, this combination is utterly fantastic, both savory and refreshing at the same time. You can pare it down to the essential contrast, and serve no more than a plate of chunked watermelon, sprinkled with feta and mint and spritzed with lime, but this full-length version is hardly troublesome to make and once made will, I assure you, become a regular feature of your summer table
Yield: Serves 8
1 small red onion
2-4 limes, depending on juiciness
3½ pounds sweet, ripe watermelon
9 ounces feta cheese
Bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bunch fresh mint, chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces (½ cup) pitted black olives
Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
Remove the rind and seeds from the watermelon, and cut into approximately l 3/4-inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (math is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices, over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime. Hava Negila! The taste of Tel Aviv sunshine!