Urban Solace’s Watermelon/Tomato/Cucumber Salad

I really like the restaurant Urban Solace.  And, as much as I like the food at Urban Solace, I really like  chef/owner Matt Gordon.  He is truly one of the nicest, friendliest and happiest guys I’ve ever met.  And generous too.  A real mensch.  He gives back to the community, a lot.  For the past three years, he has hosted a Passover Seder at the restaurant and donates a percentage of the proceeds to the domestic abuse program I work for.  It’s a super fun evening.  My brother-in-law Sam (The Cooking Guy) and Steve Silverman, a local restaurant critic, lead us through the traditional prayers and readings of the Seder.  And then we feast on a Passover meal like no other.

Needless to say, I was really excited when I saw the recipe for Matt’s watermelon salad posted in the U-T a couple of weeks ago.  Yet another great use of those cherry tomatoes in our backyard and the beautiful yellow watermelon I picked up at the farmer’s market!

(Matt says the salad ingredients serve two. It makes a ton of vinaigrette; I actually halved the ingredients and still had leftovers!  You can store the leftover in a glass jar in the fridge.)

Urban Solace’s Watermelon/Tomato/Cucumber Salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad

2 cups cubed seedless watermelon

1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup arugula

1⁄8 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon plumped currants (oops, I forgot these!)

1 tablespoon each fresh basil and mint, cut into thin strips

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

This makes a large quantity that can be used for other salads.

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup lime juice

1/8 cup honey

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (available at specialty markets or online OR Trader Joe’s carries a pomegranate syrup that you could use)

2 tablespoons ground coriander, toasted first (I left this out…sorry, Matt!)

2 tablespoons kosher salt  Ewww…I just noticed that this says 2 tablespoons salt!  I rechecked the newspaper article…that’s what it said.  No way it’s right.  I used 1 teaspoon!

1 pinch ground black pepper

2 cups vegetable oil (preferably a blend of canola and olive oil)

DIRECTIONS

Toss all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.

Place all ingredients except oil in a blender. Emulsify, adding oil slowly. Taste for seasoning.  Toss with salad ingredients.

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