Chile Roasted Feta and Watermelon Slab

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The contrasts in this recipe are wonderful; I love the warmth of the feta and the heat from the chile against the cold sweet watermelon. The dressing is great with white beans, crumbled feta and some lettuce leaves. Or, if you prefer to keep it simple, just use a little lemon-infused olive oil to dress the watermelon. Perfect as an appetizer or light lunch.

Serves 4

4 evenly sized blocks of feta cheese (approximately 2 ½ oz each)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chile flakes
1 container cilantro sprouts (optional)
1 container shiso sprouts (optional)
1 ½ – 2 oz mizuna or baby salad leaves
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional)
Raisin and Oregano dressing
4 pieces watermelon, cut into slightly larger rectangles than the feta, each approximately ½” high and chilled
olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut a large piece of foil and put it on a baking tray. Place each piece of feta on top, drizzle each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with a few chile flakes. Put another piece of foil on top and fold the foil edges together to form a loose parcel. Place in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, by which time the feta will be soft and warm. (You can prepare the feta in advance but if you take it straight from the fridge you will need to double the cooking time.)

Remove from the oven and assemble immediately; snip the cilantro and shiso sprouts (if using) and mix with the baby leaves and pine nuts (if using). Dress with a little of the Raisin and Oregano Dressing and pile neatly on top of the chilled watermelon slabs.

Open the parcel and place the roasted feta on top of the salad leaves. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve immediately.

Raisin oregano dressing

2 oz raisins
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 small shallots, finely chopped
¼ cup Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5 drops of green Tabasco sauce or 3 of red will do
Finely grated zest of approx ¼ of an orange plus 1 Tbsp of juice
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped oregano

Soak the raisins in hot water till plump approximately 10 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and pulse one-third with a hand blender/liquidize. Mix together stirring in the orange zest and juice and season with a pinch of sea salt

Store in the refrigerator until required.

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