This beautiful salad is inspired by a backstreet grocery store in Corfu old town whose frontage is a cornucopia of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables piled high in rickety old wooden crates. Tiny sweet apricots, velvety flat peaches, glossy nectarines, huge watermelons, bright gnarly lemons, green figs and dark juicy cherries. Two girls, gloriously plump with youth, kept watch over it, one dressed in bright pink harem pants and an orange vest adorned with the hugest silver crucifix I’ve ever seen, the other more conservatively attired in denim shorts and a soft rainbow teeshirt. Before rainbows became a symbol of hope. We didn’t know then what catastrophe would befall us just a few months later. Inside there is a dark barrel filled with tangy snow white feta, bowls of olives that had been marinated in thick grassy olive oil and herbs, jar after jar of herbs and spices. On the counter sit bags of sun-dried tomatoes, thick bunches of wild oregano, various oils and vinegars, herbal preparations for skin and hair, natural sponges and beeswax candles. It is one of my favourite shops in the world. I couldn’t tell you where it is in words but I could lead you there – blindfolded – by the hand. This dish couldn’t be simpler to make yet it delivers a gorgeous sweet and salty punch that is just perfect for summer days in the garden. Replace the watermelon with slices of very ripe peach if you prefer.
400g watermelon, cubed
250g sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a cucumber, seeds removed and diced
70g pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
200g feta cheese, cubed
Mint leaves, picked, to garnish
2 tbsp Greek extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp Greek honey
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
How I make it
Place the watermelon, vegetables, olives and feta in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and add to the bowl. Gently combine and turn out onto a platter. Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately.