Watermelon Pecorino Salad

It’s been a long time since I’ve purchased a cookbook. I’m a little embarrassed at how many I own, although I do use them. So I promised myself I’d wait a while. And then there it was.

I was in a cute shop while on vacation, and the cookbook practically screamed at me. The cover was beautiful, but I’m not one to only judge books by their covers. Especially with how sophisticated food styling and photography have become.

But this book was a little different in that there was cheese in the cover photo, which always gets my attention! And right there were two of my favorites – Humboldt Fog, bottom left, and a Foja de Noce wrapped in walnut leaves, top left, a Pecorino that I discovered from the last cheese book I purchased. In any case, I couldn’t resist the book, called “The Cheesemonger’s Seasons.”

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The recipes are “cheese-centric” and range from appetizers to desserts, but what I liked most that there are four chapters – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. That’s my kind of book!

So after I returned home, I perused the summer chapter of the cookbook, and that’s when I saw this salad. A very simple one that includes watermelon (check), Pecorino (check), white balsamic vinegar (check), and mint (check). I could make it the following day!

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The salad is simple yet exquisite. It would be a wonderful first course to a summer meal. Also, if all of the major components were skewered, they would make fabulous hors d’oeuvres, drizzled with white or regular balsamic vinegar.

Watermelon with Pecorino Stravecchio and White Balsamic Vinegar
From The Cheesemonger’s Seasons

One 1-lb chunk ripe watermelon
2 ounces Pecorino Stravecchio or other aged sheep’s-milk cheese*
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh mint
Freshly cracked black pepper

Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut the flesh into 1/2″ cubes, or use a small melon baller to make same-size balls.

Place the watermelon in a medium bowl. Cut the Pecorino into 1/4″ cubes, or break it into rougher chunks about half the size of the watermelon pieces.

Add the cheese to the watermelon and toss with the vinegar, mint, and a few grindings of pepper.

Divide among individual plates or cordial glasses and serve immediately.

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I personally think Parmesan or Manchego would work just as well as a Pecorino and more cheese needs to be used than what is shown in my photos. This is probably not the fault of the recipe, I just wasn’t going to eat a whole watermelon! (My husband wont eat vinegar.)

Although the cubed cheese looks pretty, smaller crumbles would work better. This salad, I feel, is about the combination of the watermelon and Parmesan, not alternating one bite of each.

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I also ended up using a lot more balsamic vinegar in my salad, but in any case the salad was delicious and refreshing!

note: I love this cookbook but I have two issues with it. One is the index, and the other is the lack of photos. I prefer to have a photo with each dish in order to see it plated.

By Published On: August 10th, 201575 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

75 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller August 10, 2015 at 7:08 AM - Reply

    Lovely summer salad and great combination of the cheese with the watermelon.

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM - Reply

      The combination was really lovely – better than I would have thought!

  2. cookingwithauntjuju.com August 10, 2015 at 7:09 AM - Reply

    This looks so refreshing and perfect for the summertime – a favorite time to buy cookbooks was always on vacation. No matter where I have traveled bookstores and nurseries were always on the list of things to do!

  3. Jardin August 10, 2015 at 7:20 AM - Reply

    Oh these photos all look so tempting! As you say, a very refreshing summer salad.
    The cookbook looks interesting – I love combining cheese with fruit, but I do need photos to inspire me!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      Photos help me in a lot of ways, plus they’re pretty! I don’t need them overdone, but just to see what the dish is supposed to look like!

  4. sallybr August 10, 2015 at 8:48 AM - Reply

    Beautiful salad! For some reason I’ve never made a watermelon salad at home, but ordered it a few times at restaurants… time to think about changing this situation!

    loved the presentation of your salad, making the balls of watermelon is a great move!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 9:01 AM - Reply

      thank you! I’d never made one either! i highly recommend the white balsamic – it all went together perfectly!

  5. tinywhitecottage August 10, 2015 at 9:51 AM - Reply

    Wow! I love the idea of cheese with watermelon, and I would never think to add vinegar to a watermelon salad but it sounds wonderful. I’m definitely going to make this salad Mimi. We love Humboldt Fog too, just had a nice wedge two nights ago!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 3:18 PM - Reply

      I really like the white balsamic – a bit on the sweeter side so as not to overpower the watermelon…

  6. StefanGourmet August 10, 2015 at 11:56 AM - Reply

    This would also work with good feta. Agreed there should be water melon and cheese in every bite!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 3:19 PM - Reply

      Well you’re preaching to the choir here, as we say. I could put feta on shoe soles and probably be happy! I wish there had been a photo of this salad in the book.

  7. Jodi August 10, 2015 at 11:58 AM - Reply

    Beautiful photos and it sounds delish Mimi!

  8. David Scott Allen August 10, 2015 at 2:41 PM - Reply

    Beautiful, Mimi! Really, the colors and simplicity are so alluring. Thanks for sharing… now there is yet another cookbook I might need to have…

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 3:22 PM - Reply

      I know the feeling… I also really enjoyed the Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese!

  9. lulu August 10, 2015 at 3:08 PM - Reply

    What a perfect summer salad!

  10. Amanda | What's Cooking August 10, 2015 at 3:10 PM - Reply

    What a gorgeous and perfect summer salad. The mix of sweet and salty with a hint of floral and herb. This truly encapsulates the season. Sometimes it’s amazing that the simplest recipes are the true winners.

  11. chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 3:23 PM - Reply

    Exactly! Well said!

  12. A Famished Foodie August 10, 2015 at 4:13 PM - Reply

    Yum! Sounds fab. I adore pecorino- more people should use it.

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:14 PM - Reply

      I agree! Have you ever had foja de noce? It’s incredible..

  13. 13 Spices August 10, 2015 at 5:06 PM - Reply

    I have to try this. Never had it before. Very refreshing and I’ve been loving your photos lately!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:14 PM - Reply

      Oh thank you! What a compliment! I’ve never made such a salad before either, but I’m glad I did!

  14. safifer August 10, 2015 at 5:34 PM - Reply

    I’ve not done this salad with Pecorino, but that sounds great. I’ve used feta with this (if you can get really good feta). I think it’s just astounding how the combination of mint and the watermelon give such an explosion of flavor when combined. I agree that Parmesan or Manchego would work, too. I’ve always used either crumbles or very tiny cubes, so that you can have cheese and melon together.

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:15 PM - Reply

      Exactly. That’s where I messed up. I was more concerned about the photos of this salad, instead of thinking about the ratio of the watermelon to cheese!

  15. Vinny Grette August 10, 2015 at 5:37 PM - Reply

    The salad looks lovely! But those little balls must be a pain to make. Worth it for a special occasion :). Yes, I wondered at the tiny bit of dressing for so much watermelon. I might also add a splash of vodka! Or a sweet liqueur like Grand Marnier.

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:16 PM - Reply

      OOOOOHHHHH , A woman after my own heart! I just made the balls, sliced the watermelon, made more balls, and kept slicing. Lovely leftovers!

  16. safifer August 10, 2015 at 5:37 PM - Reply

    Reblogged this on A single serving and commented:
    This is such an awesome salad–I’ve used feta, but I think the pecorino would be great as well.

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:17 PM - Reply

      Let’s fact it – just about any good cheese would work in this salad!!! Thank you for the re-blog!

  17. ladyredspecs August 10, 2015 at 5:53 PM - Reply

    I’ve made a similar salad with crumbled fetta Mimi and it was delicious!! I have similar bowls with the zigzag top edge, they were my Grandmas so probably date from the 1950s, maybe earlier

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:18 PM - Reply

      Interesting! These were just old feal market finds a million years ago! Have no idea if they’re worth anything, but I don’t care!

  18. Paige August 10, 2015 at 7:29 PM - Reply

    This salad looks AMAZING! Such an awesome combination of sweet and salty!I love Pecorino and watermelon – I can’t wait to try this!

  19. Bowl Me Over (@Bowl_Me_Over) August 10, 2015 at 11:47 PM - Reply

    Love cookbooks too and looking at the pretty pictures, I understand! :D The salad sounds delicious and your pictures are outstanding – makes the salad look even better!

  20. chefceaser August 11, 2015 at 8:37 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  21. Lesley at Lola Rugula August 11, 2015 at 7:05 PM - Reply

    Your photos and recipes are always a treat for me…this one is beautiful. It’s also nice to hear I’m not the only one who still enjoys a good cookbook now and then…my most recent one is one of Thomas Keller’s, given to me as a gift, and I read it like it was a fiction novel. :)

    • chef mimi August 12, 2015 at 8:16 AM - Reply

      I love reading cookbooks. And chefs’ stories are always fascinating. I also read as many chef autobiographies as I can!

  22. Laura @ Feast Wisely August 11, 2015 at 9:24 PM - Reply

    What a fantastic book for cheese lovers – hopefully you’ll be sharing your twist on the recipes….

    • chef mimi August 12, 2015 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      I found quite a few interesting recipes, and I’ve only checked out the summer chapter!

  23. camparigirl August 11, 2015 at 9:31 PM - Reply

    I wonder if this could make me conquer my slight aversion to Pecorino

    • chef mimi August 12, 2015 at 8:12 AM - Reply

      Really? Do you like Parmesan? Gruyere would work, or Fontina….

      • camparigirl August 12, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        I like Parmesan and I can deal with Pecorino if mixed in for a pesto but not on its own. Fontina would be lovely with watermelon

      • chef mimi August 13, 2015 at 10:32 AM

        I think so too!

  24. lapetitepaniere August 12, 2015 at 1:55 AM - Reply

    Mimi, this is a perfect combination for a summer salad. Great for a picnic! :)

  25. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome August 12, 2015 at 10:13 AM - Reply

    It just so happens I have a watermelon sitting on my counter…

  26. but i'm hungry August 12, 2015 at 2:56 PM - Reply

    What a gorgeous salad! Perfect for summer!

  27. Peri's Spice Ladle August 12, 2015 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    Cheese and melon – a perfect match and mint adds a great touch of flavor:) Lovely recipe…

    • chef mimi August 13, 2015 at 10:32 AM - Reply

      It was even better than I expected it to be!

  28. love in the kitchen August 13, 2015 at 10:37 AM - Reply

    What a gorgeous looking salad. I once swore of buying anymore cookbooks until I read that Sylvia Plath read them like novels and that changed my thinking. They’re companionable books – and useful too – even if only for browsing and inspiration. Lovely post Mimi.

    • chef mimi August 13, 2015 at 10:56 AM - Reply

      Thank you! That’s very interesting about Sylvia Plath. She should have stayed out of the oven…

  29. The Gourmet Gourmand August 15, 2015 at 10:46 AM - Reply

    OH man what a great idea Mimi!! I know watermelon and feta is a pretty popular combo, but I have never seen it with pecorino before. great idea and beautiful photos! :)

  30. Charlotte August 16, 2015 at 2:34 AM - Reply

    I love how you made the watermelon into little balls, very pretty. I make that salad a lot in the summer, but using feta cheese instead of the pecorino. Might try a variation now!

    • chef mimi August 16, 2015 at 8:02 AM - Reply

      Gruyere and Fontina would work well, too, I think!

  31. dishinwithdidi August 17, 2015 at 4:20 AM - Reply

    Haha, your cookbook fetish sounds a lot like mine my friend! I recently purged 2 huge boxes, and kept just my favorites! This salad looks amazing, and I agree about the pictures and needing a good index!!
    Killer pics my friend, I can literally taste it!!

    • chef mimi August 26, 2015 at 9:42 AM - Reply

      I hope you don’t regret purging your cookbooks. I have. Thanks for your sweet comment!

  32. PeachyTales August 26, 2015 at 10:15 AM - Reply

    Omg I love watermelon salad with feta cheese and yours looks so lush..My mouth watering! 💗Amazing blog love.And very unique dishes x

  33. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward October 17, 2015 at 1:36 PM - Reply

    We love Pecorino Stravecchio, and I have never thought to pair the salty, hard cheese with the sweet, soft watermelon in a salad. Nice call with white balsamic… white pepper would be a nice play on the white theme. :-)

    • chef mimi October 17, 2015 at 2:55 PM - Reply

      don’t you love white pepper? in the UK it’s often served at the table instead of black. love it!

      • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward October 17, 2015 at 5:41 PM

        I always have it on hand, and it’s quite stealth, you can’t see it but can taste it. :)
        Interesting about the UK!

  34. Agness of Run Agness Run June 1, 2017 at 11:59 AM - Reply

    This is a perfect summer salad! Excellent idea for the hot summer days!

  35. sue | theviewfromgreatisland June 9, 2017 at 2:14 PM - Reply

    OK, this is utterly brilliant ~ I consider myself a pretty creative cook and I would never have come up with this! It really does sound wonderful :)

  36. sippitysup July 24, 2017 at 12:16 PM - Reply

    Yes, simple yet exquisite and I love the big meaty chunks of pecorino. GREG

  37. glamorous glutton August 13, 2017 at 4:59 PM - Reply

    That looks like a really interesting salad, love the sweet savoury combo. You’re probably right that the cheese could be crumbled. GG

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