The perfect storm of summer fruit comes together in this salad. And, it’s back! Ricotta. It’s irresistible. In last month’s Zucchini Ribbon salad, the ricotta played foil to the savory, salty salad. Here it works perfectly, playing background music to summer’s sweet characters. I have made and consumed this salad many times this summer. It has earned a berth on the regular rotation. I attempted to make it for dinner for some friends, and two mushy watermelons and one ‘turned’ container of ricotta later, I ended up with a nearly naked, and not-nearly-as-triumphant salad. I blame it on the effects of the Super Moon, the second one of the summer. The Super Moon happens when the moon’s orbit dips closer to earth than normal. This makes the moon seem 14% larger and 30% brighter! (don’t quote me on the numbers!) It also makes high tides higher and low tides lower. It can also affect those puttering in the kitchen, according to scientists.
For this recipe, my garden yielded the Sungold cherry tomatoes — bright orange and tasting of candy. The garden exploded early and gave greatly but I was quickly humbled by nature’s creatures and diseases. Japanese beetles have devoured most of my raspberry leaves although I have been told they only darken our door for about a month. Hold on raspberries! Apparently a cucumber beetle took hold of my cucumber bed, which also housed my zucchini and dill and soon the leafy green bed overrun with life was drained dry. Amazing. Luckily, I went cucumber crazy and harvested a lot before the beetle wreaked its havoc. My tomatoes are fending off black leaf spot disease due to a lot of rain this summer, which birthed a fungus or so I am gathering. The tomatoes themselves are doing fine so far as long as I apply copper spray and cut back all the yellow leaves — daily. Note the yellow watermelon in the salad, from my neighbor Carol, who has inspired my first vegetable garden, and introduced me to Dave Homa, the permaculture guru and designer of my garden, builder of my beds. [Feel free to use pink watermelon!]
Watermelon, Tomato and Raspberry Salad
2 T raspberry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp agave or honey
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
2-3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup raspberries
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 to 1 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup basil, slivered
1. Make vinaigrette by whisking vinegar and agave in a medium bowl. Whisk in salt and pepper and add olive oil in a steady stream, continue whisking until dressing is well incorporated.
2. Place watermelon, raspberries, cherry tomatoes in a salad bowl. Toss with vinaigrette. Mix in basil and add dollops of ricotta cheese.
- A lime vinaigrette would go well here as lime and watermelon pair well.
- I used the un-salad worthy watermelon to make watermelon-limeade. Simply blend (or process) the watermelon until it is completely liquefied. Strain into a glass pitcher, and strain again to make it really smooth. Add lime juice. Serve over ice. Add vodka if so inclined!