Something about summer makes it seem so appropriate to throw things together. To be lazy. To not care. I blame the fruit.
Summer fruit doesn’t give two rips if you do anything to it: it exists and is beautiful, period. Berries are perfectly formed into their wee shapes, cherries practically glow at you and look like cartoons of themselves, melons are just thrilled to be hacked into a rainbow of cubes or triangles and thrown on a plate. Sometimes, when I’m feeling fancy, I dig out my melon-baller; most often, I don’t.
I need everyone to make this salad at some point this summer while the watermelons are still stacked in piles at your nearest grocer. I need you to buy a big watermelon and harvest some for this salad. Grab a cucumber and a thing of scallions on your way out, and make sure you have vinegar and salt at home. If you don’t have vinegar and salt at home, you must not like food; fix the situation and make sure it never happens again.
Listen: I’m a watermelon purist, normally. If you’re a watermelon purist too, I get your apprehension. I grew up feet away from a pool with a slab of watermelon in-hand from like, late May until early September. I almost never feel compelled to do anything beyond eating watermelon, but here’s the thing.
I’ve been obsessed with Persian cooking as of late. No, I don’t know why: because I’m me, I guess. Yes, it’s a very good obsession to have, thank you. In the summer too, I know, right? Perfect. So I grabbed this cookbook on a whim the other day at my library – The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia – and I fell instantly in love. She’s got serious style and she totally nails food, most of the time with pretty simple ingredients.
This is one of her recipes, and clearly I couldn’t resist. I timed myself: it took less than 3 minutes…I’d give it 5 minutes if you don’t already have cubed watermelon waiting in the fridge. In the summer months, watermelon in the fridge is as much of a given as kosher salt in my pantry, so if you’re like me, it makes this recipe even simpler to execute.
It would go well with everything: I’m planning to eat this for lunch, probably just solo. it would be awesome next to pretty much any protein, or you could throw it on some lettuce, I don’t know. What I do know is that in the midst of 90’s temperatures with abundant humidity, this salad will literally cool you down, quench your thirst, and make you feel like summer should go on forever. I’m starting to sound like Elizabeth; it was only a matter of time.
Barely adapted from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. I’m going to make more things from it, which should give you ample time to check it out.
Persian Watermelon + Cucumber Salad
Serves | 4 to 6 | as a side
- 3 heaping cups watermelon, in cubes
- 1 lb English cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed with a spoon, sliced into 1/2-inch thick crescents
- 2 scallions, green parts only, sliced into very thin slivers
- 1 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
- sea salt, for serving
I like using champagne vinegar here because I love the light, slightly sweet flavor. I don’t want to complicate things, so use white wine vinegar if that’s what you have.
Make that salad:
Toss watermelon cubes, cucumber slices, and scallions in a bowl, holding some scallion slivers out for garnish. Add vinegar and salt to taste; stir to coat, transfer to serving bowl, top with remaining scallions, and serve immediately.
That’s seriously it. You’re welcome!