Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Mint and Chili

I love this salad because of all the surprises in it, from the differing textures in the melon and tomato, to the similarity in appearance of the two, and the fun sweet hot heat of the fresh chili and the smokiness of the dried chili. Mint is one of my favorite summer herbs in salads and I think it is underappreciated in America. It’s not just the garnish on your restaurant dessert! Try this two ways with red watermelon and red beefsteak tomatoes, or yellow watermelon and yellow tomatoes. If you want to get really crazy, add red (or yellow depending on the color) bell peppers and cucumber to each recipe and puree it to make a great summer gazpacho!

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups watermelon cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups Beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 red onion, sliced thin and soaked in ice water
2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Serrano chili or jalapeño chili, sliced very thin (remove seeds for less heat)
1/4 cup mint leaves, or freshly sliced mint
Salt to taste

METHOD:

Toss the melon, tomato and onion with the vinegar and oil, adding more if you desire. Season to taste with salt and the toss in the chilies and half the mint. Divide onto plates and sprinkle some of the remaining mint over each salad.

YIELD: 8 servings

VARIATION:

This would be great with a bit of shaved fennel and some arugula below for a peppery and crunchy addition and great with goat cheese too! Remember, what grows together, goes together!

SOURCE:  Chef Jamie Smith