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Make Ben Tish’s watermelon and salty blue cheese salad

This fresh and fruity salad from the Moorish cookbook is a great combination of salty and sweet – the perfect choice for when you fancy something light for lunch on a summer’s day

 

Make Ben Tish’s watermelon and salty blue cheese salad; photography by Kris Kirkham

Serves 4-6

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

The Moors introduced the watermelon to Spain towards the end of the 10th century. The fruit became wildly popular due to its sweet, refreshing flesh, and soon the word had spread throughout the countries of southern Europe. Like many I love to eat watermelon on its own, chilled, when it's blazing hot, but I also love this combination of the sweet fruit's pairing with the salty blue cheese and the crunchy, salted walnuts. Moscatel vinegar, or Muscat grape vinegar, is a delicious sweet vinegar with a gently sharp edge. A white balsamic would be a good alternative.

Ingredients

  • ½ small, heavy watermelon (800g–1kg) with unblemished smooth, shiny skin
  • 50ml moscatel vinegar or white balsamic
  • 100g walnut halves
  • 70ml walnut oil
  • A handful of herb fennel or dill fronds
  • 150g salty blue cheese (such as Gorgonzola, Picos Blue, Roquefort)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Peel the melon half, removing all the white flesh under the skin. Dice the coloured flesh into 2cm pieces. Place in a bowl. Season and toss in the vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Place a sauté pan over medium heat. Break the walnut halves into pieces directly into the pan and toast for a few minutes, tossing, until they are fragrant and have started to release their oil. Season liberally with salt and mix into the watermelon.
  3. Add the walnut oil and fennel fronds. and crumble in the blue cheese. Briefly mix together and serve. This is delicious on its own, with warm flatbreads, or as part of a mezze-style sharing meal.
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