Rather than simply see this salad, I wish that you could smell it. The heavy, honeyed breath of the yellow watermelon mingles with the tingling spice of the shredded basil and the sweet, robust scent of the tiny cherry tomatoes to form a medley maddening in its redolence.
Crumbled blue cheese and sweet balsamic add tang and breadth, and the perfume settles like a haze over the kitchen.
Just as the fruits are perfectly ripe, the heft of the meal fits the season, too. The watermelon slips down like a jug of sugared ice tea, heavy and smooth and just sweet enough. Basil adds zest; the tomatoes are at once hearty and delicate. Blue cheese quenches the pit of hunger left otherwise to continue wandering through the belly; balsamic dressing adds a touch of satisfying oil.
Salt enhances the zip of it all, sprinkled over the melon as a sweetener to its sunny flesh. A lone fork can finish the deal, stealing piece after piece until finally all that remains is a puddle of juice and seed, and the lingering smell. Here at the table, the next day, I can almost smell it still, the aroma of high August.
SWEET SUMMER SALAD
Cut one small yellow watermelon into bite sized chunks, removing seeds if possible. Halve 2 and 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes. Tear 1/2 cup basil leaves into halves (to release smell). Mix watermelon, tomatoes, and basil in a large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Top with 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese and several tablespoons sweet balsamic dressing.