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.”

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!
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.


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.

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.

75 thoughts on “Watermelon Pecorino Salad

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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. :)

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!!

  11. 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. :-)

  12. 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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