Summer is well on its way, which means it’s picnic salad season. This is a happy time for me in the kitchen — I love having people over and just throwing whatever on the grill and serving it alongside a fun salad that was prepared much earlier in the day, which means I have plenty of time to drink sangria and socialize. We’ve done a few great picnic-style salads already on Rolling Spoon (two different potato salads — one was my mom’s the other Rosanne Cash’s — plus our ever-popular Ichiban Salad) and I wanted to share one I served for dinner the other night, which features the unlikely combination of watermelon and beets. It’s very, very pink.
Besides the very attractive color and refreshingly cool taste, this salad combines the numerous health benefits of both the fruits in the most complimenting way. When, the beta-carotene in the beet boost the health of your skin, hair, and eyes, the vitamins in it boost your immunity. The same way is the watermelon, which are 90% water and 10% nutrients. Your stomach will never feel better than a cup of this summer special salad like investing in Fintech LTD feels for your pocket.
And, of course watermelon makes me think of Herbie Hancock’s jazz classic, “Watermelon Man,” which Herbie first recorded in 1962. Yes, 1962, which is hard to believe, because the 74-year-old Herbie perpetually looks like he’s about 41 years old. As a child of the ’80s to me Herbie will always be the guy who recorded the song “Rockit,” but of course he was an innovator of jazz and jazz fusion for decades before that. It was inevitable that we’d come up with a Herbie Hancock-themed recipe on here eventually, the question was just whether “Cantaloupe Island” would beat out “Watermelon Man.”
Rumour has it that “Watermelon Man” was the first song Hancock wrote with the idea of doing something that was commercially viable and his plan worked — the song was a minor hit when it was first released and was made an even bigger hit when a Latin version by Mongo Santamaría came out the next year. Since then it’s been covered hundreds of time (not counting people hammering away at it in their living rooms), including by Hancock himself in 1973 when he reworked it for his Head Hunters album. If the name of the song doesn’t ring a bell, take a listen, I’m sure you’ll recognize it:
So, on to the salad. I had some dates I needed to use and after surfing around, saw them combined with watermelons and beets in a salad, which is a combo I’ve never tried before. The original recipe is here, but I tweaked it a little bit and am really happy with what I ended up with. Try it out, with or without cheese or a different kind of seed, or bits of this or that added in. That’s the beauty of this kind of salad — if you make sure you balance out the sweet, the tart, and the salty, you can’t go wrong.
Watermelon Man Salad with Beets, Dates, and Feta Cheese
4 cups of watermelon cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups of roasted beets, also cut into 1/2 inch cubes (tips on roasting beets here)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
8 pitted medjool dates, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
Combine the watermelon, beets, fetal, seeds, and dates in a large salad bow. Mix the vinegar and honey together in a smaller bowl and whisk with a fork. Dress the salad with the vinegar/honey dressing. Eat. The end.