Tips You Need When Making Watermelon And Feta Salad

Making a salad should be easy, right? Especially when it involves fruit and cheese with minimal lettuce. All you do is add your ingredients to a big mixing bowl, coat it with dressing, and toss with tongs until well combined. Not so fast — watermelon is a summer favorite — we all know that. But, picking out the best one can be a bit tricky and involves some sensory skills. Also, watermelon isn't the only ingredient we're digging into. 

There's something incredible about biting into tender melon with creamy, slightly salty feta alongside. The pairing is somewhat magical, often joined by red onion and fresh herbs. According to The PhCheese, this combination works because the flavors are complementary. Fruit and cheese also help bring out the best notes in both. With that in mind, the only thing that can make this summer favorite better is a few simple tips.

Choose the right feta

There's different types of feta, just like there's different types of cheddar. According to Serious Eats, sheep's milk feta has the perfect funky flavor and saltiness to sweet watermelon. It's got a creamier texture, preventing grainy bits from rolling off watery fruit and collecting at the bottom. 

While this type of cheese, specifically known as Bulgarian feta, is more likely to show up in specialty food and cheese stores, you can also opt for a block of Greek feta when in a pinch, and crumble it yourself. Pre-crumbled feta has moisture already removed, making it a bit grainy with a tougher texture. When buying a block of feta, the briny liquid comes in the pack to keep it hydrated, which you can then incorporate into your salad to maintain that silkiness. 

Choose the right melon

It's hard to know which watermelon is the best. The next time you're at the store and don't know whether that yellow spot is a good thing or a bad thing, The Kitchn has you covered. They state that the yellow spot is where the watermelon was resting on the ground before being picked and indicates if it's ripe or not. Watermelons with yellow spots are the ones you want to go towards. The yellower, the riper. 

Also, instead of beating the melons, thump it with your finger. If you hear a dull sound, it's a no-go. If it sounds hollow, put it in the cart and take it home to cut. A bonus tip — if it's a struggle to get it in the cart, that's even better. The heavier it is, the more ripe and ready it is. 

Dilute your onions

Red onions love sweet fruit, but sometimes they can be overpowering. A good tip for when you've got a red onion that wants to be the star of the show is to chop it really fine, add it to a bowl and let it sit 30 minutes to an hour. And when you don't have that extra time, simply add the chopped onion to a fine-mesh sieve and run it under cold water, stirring with your hands like you would when rinsing rice. 

According to Martha Stewart, sulfur is what makes these tear-jerking vegetables so potent. The longer the onion is in the ground, the larger it grows, and the more sulfur it contains. If you're looking for an onion with more mellow flavor, try grabbing a smaller one. However, if you love the flavor that onions provide, the bigger the better. A bonus tip — if you're not fond of the taste of these sulfur-rich veggies, try opting for milder flavored onions like Vidalia, shallots, or spring onions.

Turn mint leaves into ribbons

To chiffonade is to stack herb leaves, roll them up tightly, and slice with a sharp chef knife into thin ribbons (via YouTube). This technique spruces up a salad compared to throwing whole herb leaves in, and adds bright color to this pink watermelon and white feta color combination. 

If you find yourself with too many mint ribbons, the best way to store herbs to keep them fresh longest is to wrap them in a damp paper towel, place in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the fridge (via The Pioneer Woman). This will prolong their life tremendously, allowing you to throw extra herbs into soups, salads, dips, and more.

Not only are these four special steps an upgrade on the eyes, but a field trip for your taste buds. With the most optimal ingredients that is sure to yield a show stopping salad, you'll have people asking what your secret is.