Perfection

Kimi was petite and lovely with dark hair, sparkling eyes, and a magnificent singing voice. She was also tough as nails, and a hell of a cook. For a while, we had an all-woman kitchen: We kicked ass and had a great time doing it. I still have vivid memories of Kimi’s cooking, its fresh, vegetable-centric simplicity: roasted eggplant, tomato, and green pepper salad; figs with feta, mint, honey, and fleur de sel; roasted butternut squash with bulgur and herbs.

I’ve picked thing up – flavor combinations, cooking techniques, favored ingredients – from most chefs I’ve worked under. But this salad, one that Kimi served with grilled prawns, really stands out: It may just be the perfect salad. I crave it all year and rejoice when watermelons come into season. Sweet and juicy, creamy and salty and crunchy and tangy in just the right proportion, it’s a perfect accompaniment to summery things from the grill – or all on its own (which is how I like to eat it).

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Watermelon, Feta, and Avocado Salad

4 cups watermelon (cubed)

1 large avocado, cut into medium chunks

4 oz feta, roughly crumbled

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Combine watermelon, avocado, feta, and red onion in a large bowl. Drizzle on the olive oil and salt to taste, gently mixing with your hands. Serve with mixed greens, grilled steak or seafood, or on its own.

Note: Make it at the last possible minute, since the components are delicate.

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