TOAST Magazine

Pickled Watermelon Salad with Jessica Dennison | Time to Make

FOOD & DRINK

Elliott’s is a neighbourhood space on Sciennes Road in Edinburgh for simple cooking, natural wines and fermented drinks. Food writer Jessica Elliott Dennison first opened the space as a relaxed cafe with an emphasis on sharing. She has recently adapted the space to offer takeaway lunches, wines and essentials. Her new store and workshop space is opening just a few doors down in August.

This pickled watermelon and halloumi salad is adapted from Jess’s first book Salad Feasts. 'This is exactly what I want to eat at this time of year,' Jess explains. 

'Watermelon is good mood food and this salad is all about contrasting textures, flavours and colours. You can throw this onto a big dish or platter and eat out in the garden on its own or with some barbecued chicken or fish and a bottle of something fun and fizzy”.

INGREDIENTS, to serve 4.

350g pearl barley (you could also use spelt, or farro)

3 tablespoons vinegar (cider, white or red)

1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

½ red onion, peeled and finely sliced

½ small watermelon, roughly chopped

6 jarred sun-dried tomatoes, plus 2 tablespoons infused oil from the jar

250g halloumi

Handful radishes (you could also use asparagus, green beans or peas)

Large handful soft herbs (mint, dill, parsley)

3 tablespoons dukkah (optional)

METHOD

First, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the barley for 16-18 minutes or until tender. Refresh under cold water, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, stir the vinegar, sugar and salt in a large serving bowl. Stir in the onion and watermelon and allow to quickly pickle.

Heat 2 tablespoon of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar in a medium pan on high heat. Crumble in bite-sized chunks of the halloumi (discarding any liquid from the packet) and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden. Set aside. Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes and radishes, and roughly pick the herbs.

To assemble, add all the prepared ingredients to the bowl of pickled watermelon. Toss to coat all the ingredients in the pickling juices and halloumi oil then scatter with dukkah if using. 

You can use any mix of seeds, nuts and spices from your cupboard to make a lovely dukkah. In the video, I toasted 1 tablespoon each of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and fennel seeds in a medium pan until golden then removed from the heat and added ½ teaspoon each of turmeric, paprika, cumin and chilli flakes.

Have a play with what you already have to hand! Any spare can be stored in a jar and saved for sprinkling over scrambled eggs, shakshuka, flatbreads and hummus. 

Images by Murray Orr

Jessica wears the Garment Dyed Linen Dress in orange with the Hal Denim Workwear Jacket. She uses our hand pressed bowls by Wonki Ware

If you do make a salad, please share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TOASTtimetomake. We would love to see. You can watch another recipe by Jessica for Sage Fried Eggs here.

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