Jacques Pépin's friends Faith Middleton (host of NPR's The Food Schmooze) and veteran publicist Fern Berman once brought a watermelon salad to one of his boules parties. He loved it and was inspired to create this recipe. Although he cuts a small, seedless watermelon into rounds with a melon baller (adding the trimmings to the salad, too, so as not to waste them), you can also chop the watermelon into cubes.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks 10 cups chilled
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped optional
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.