Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Jalapeno, Mint and Basil

My husband’s family has a huge celebration on the 3rd of July every year. My husband’s brother, Mark and his wife, Tara host the celebration. It is full of amazing food and fireworks. Mark always smokes and grills all kinds of amazing meats and Tara makes beautiful desserts that taste as wonderful as they look. Friends and family bring side dishes and drinks to share. I always make a big batch of sangria which is perfect for a hot July evening.

This year there was one dish that stole my heart and taste buds. It was a watermelon salad that Angie, my husband’s sister, made. It was salty and sweet, crunchy and tangy. For the past week, I could not stop thinking about this watermelon salad. I took Angie’s basic concept and tweaked with the ingredients and proportions and ended up with a watermelon salad that you will crave.

If you have never had salted watermelon, go right now and sprinkle some high quality sea salt on a piece. Salty watermelon is amazing. This salad adds extra crunchy cucumber, tangy lime, slightly spicy jalapenos and herbs. I like it best with mint and basil, but you can use all mint or all basil.

A note about the jalapenos. Peppers can be very unpredictable. Some are so mild you can eat them like a bell pepper and some or so spicy you have to wear gloves to chop them. Taste a little of the jalapeno and see if it is mild or spicy and adjust the amount you add accordingly. If you are making this for kids you can even skip the jalapeno.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

5 Cups Chopped Watermelon (about 1/2 of a medium seedless watermelon)

1 1/2 Cups chopped English Cucumber (about 1/2 of a large cucumber)

1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Mint

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil

1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped Jalapeno

Zest of 1 Lime

Juice of 1 Lime

Add Chopped Watermelon and cucumber to a fine mesh strainer and sprinkle with salt. Stir and set strainer over a measuring cup or bowl. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. The watermelon and cucumber will let off lots of liquid. After it sits, gently push on the mixture with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out a little more of the liquid.

Add the drained watermelon and cucumber to a large bowl. Gently mix in the chopped mint, basil, jalapeno and lime zest. Juice the lime and pour over the salad.

You can serve immediately, but it is even better if it rests in the refrigerator for several hours.