I’ve been making this Chilled Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese and Pickled Onions for some time now and thought it needed a little attention. It’s refreshing, easy to make and is perfect for this Spring/Summer salad time season. Who am I kidding, it’s great anytime, with or without mixed greens!
My original name for this was Watermelon and Arugula Salad, but honestly I serve this with or without salad greens. Mixed baby greens or the peppery arugula are great as a bed to lay this on, but feel free to serve like I did last night without any greens. It holds up well on it’s own just fine.
The lemony olive oil and the sweet watermelon get a kick from the quick pickled red onions and creamy goat cheese. With a drizzle of balsamic syrup this is a perfect starter salad or refreshing side to some grilled meats like chicken. To add a little crunch appeal roasted pumpkin seeds hit the spot on top.
There always seems to be different methods in picking out a watermelon, but I use the thumping method. When thumped by flicking my middle finger off the thumb against the melon, you should hear a deep thudding sound. I go for the seedless ones, less trouble trying to be all proper. How does one spit out a seed without looking like you have bad table manners? And when I say seedless I do mean no black seeds, because there is always some of the small, thin almost transparent white ones. How do you choose your watermelon?
Did you know that the watermelon dates back to Egyptian recorded harvests over 5,000 years ago? Did you know that watermelon is usually about 92% water and its cousins are cucumbers, pumpkins and squash?
Also, seedless watermelons were invented over 50 years ago. Watermelon growers discovered that by cross breeding certain varieties and the result was a fruit that produced a triploid seed, that’s three sets of chromosomes! This triploid seed is the seed that produces seedless watermelons. Interesting right? I thought anyways!
If you do not have the time to make the Lemon Thyme Oil, a good olive oil will do on its own. I use the PONTI – Glassa Gastronomica brand of balsamic syrup that is found in most supermarkets these days, but you can just as easily just use a drizzle of regular balsamic vinegar or pour 1/2 cup in a saucepan and reduce by half, then let cool prior to using. I love the thickened balsamic syrup on fruit, roasted vegetables and chilled salads like this one.
Enough of the interesting facts, let’s eat!
Chilled Watermelon Salad
- First thinly slice a red onion and cover completely with rice wine vinegar. Let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- To make the Lemon Thyme oil see my recipe here. It's fairly easy to make and adds that little nuance of lemon to counter the balsamic syrup. Otherwise use a good olive oil.
- Next, I actually cut the round watermelon into a square/rectangle, trimming off the outer rind and then the white rind corners if necessary. Slice the watermelon flesh into 4 thick slices and then each slice in half, then each half cut on the diagonal. You should have 16 triangles when finished.
- To plate, drizzle some of the lemon thyme olive oil on each chilled plate. Add some arugula salad greens, lay four watermelon triangles as shown or as you like.
- Sprinkle some of the pickled red onions (see picture, reserve rest for other salads), a drizzle of balsamic syrup and crumbles of goat cheese. Top it all off with some freshly cracked black pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Serve chilled.