This may be the perfect summer salad. It is a refreshing departure from your standard lettuce-based get-up. (Also great, but sometimes a departure is needed!) There are only four ingredients: salty, intense feta and prosciutto; soft, faintly sweet, crunchy fennel; and bright, summery, crisp-sweet watermelon. That, with some lemon juice, cracked pepper, and salt is all you need. There’s not even a dressing! It doesn’t get any simpler than this. You just have to promise me one thing: you’ll eat this outside, someplace warm, preferably a deck or a garden, and you will be playing Fleetwood Mac, quietly, on a portable record player. You may even be sitting on a picnic blanket, and if it is dark, there will be fireflies.
1/2 lb watermelon, approximately
1/4 – 1/2 cup feta
2-3 slices prosciutto
1/4 fennel bulb
freshly ground black pepper
Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley, balsamic reduction.
Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice the fennel horizontally. Place in a bowl, squeeze the juice from half a lemon over it, toss and set aside. Tear the prosciutto into small pieces. Slice the watermelon into small wedges of slightly varying size. On a small plate, alternate layers of watermelon and prosciutto, starting and ending with watermelon. Top with slivers of fennel, and crumble feta over that. Arrange more pieces of fennel and crumbled feta around the watermelon on the plate. Grind pepper over the salad, sprinkle with a little salt, and garnish with parsley if desired. Serve immediately.