So here we are in August. How did that happen? Every year I ask myself that same question. I look down woefully at my summer bucket list and scold myself for all the boxes left unticked. But this year, that isn’t the case. I kept my list sensibly short due to the COVID of it all. I figured there was no point in grand plans when even a trip to a grocery store requires more than its fair share of forethought. Initially, I was bummed but now that I’m more or less free of mid-summer blues, I’m thinking a small, manageable agenda is what I should’ve been doing all along. I mean, it’s easy to get the most out of summer when all you want are cold beers in the backyard and this Watermelon Fava Bean Salad.
No, this Watermelon Fava Bean Salad wasn’t really on my summer bucket list. But you can be sure as sugar (which I guess is always sure?) that “watermelon and plenty of it” was. And man, have I delivered. I’ve been turning out at least one watermelon salad a week for the past 5 or 6. I posted this one on Instagram a little while ago, but it is just one in a long long line. And don’t forget the salads of yesteryears – this batch of poke springs to mind.
Most of the time these watermelon salads are off-the-cuff affairs, generally embellished with whatever I have in the fridge. I do have one watermelon salad golden rule, though – there must be something salty on the plate. And when I say salty, I mean it. Olives, capers, salted nuts, and sharp cheeses – all would fit the bill.
The reason for the saltiness? Well, you’ve got to balance the sweet. Our modern watermelons are very, very sweet. I’ve heard there is a superior melon that brings a little more complexity with its sweet, the Bradford melon. But unfortunately, it’s rind is not resilient enough to support worldwide shipping. These days only a handful of people grow them and their scarcity only makes them more covetable. Side note: If you’re interested in learning more about watermelons, I can’t recommend the most recent episode of the podcast Gastropod enough.
But while I love the spontaneity of my near-nightly watermelon salads, I wanted to develop one a little more thoroughly. In spite of the presence of numerous watermelon salads within the blog world, I find people who don’t get a kick out of photographing cupcakes, are still a little lost on what to do with watermelon in a savory context. So, why not add to the din of watermelon-related inspiration? Who knows? Maybe people are just waiting for a particular flavor-combo to tickle their fancy before dipping a toe in. I’m not saying my Watermelon Fava Bean Salad is going to give you that but it might.
What I really love about this watermelon salad is the dressing. Pomegranate molasses is a total game-changer and a departure for me. I usually enlist the considerable talents of balsamic vinegar for this one. But I wanted a changeup and instead of leaning Mediterranean, as I usually do, I went for a bit of a Persian vibe. Couldn’t omit the feta, though. That cheese provides some world-class saltiness – perfect for cutting through the sweet.
I rounded out the salad with olives, pistachios, capers, mint, and, of course, fava beans. I finished things off with a sprinkle of Smoked Maldon salt to give the salad that grill-side feeling. This salad is so refreshing and is the ideal accompaniment for full-bodied proteins. Anything from lamb chops to portabello mushroom caps would get along famously with this salad.
That’s everything you need to know about this Watermelon Fava Bean Salad. This is the epitome of easy summer “cooking”. It takes no time and little heat to prepare and it has watermelon as its central character. This salad is as sweet as she is salty, but don’t let her good looks fool you, she’s complex too. What more could you want out of an August dinner?
Watermelon Fava Bean Salad
- 1 personal watermelon rind removed, cut into chunks
- 1 ½ cups fava beans cooked and shelled **
- 1/2 cup goat feta crumbled
- ⅓ cup green cocktail olives
- 2 tbsp capers drained
- 2 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- ⅓ cup lightly salted pistachios
- fresh mint leaves for garnish
- Maldon Smoke Salt for sprinkling, optional
- Place the watermelon, fava beans, feta, olives, and mint together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, garlic, lime juice, honey, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Pour the mixture over the watermelon mixture and toss to coat. Either serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
- Once ready to serve, transfer the salad to a platter and top with pistachios, mint leaves, and a sprinkling of Maldon Smoked salt. Serve immediately.