You’ve heard the saying “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”? As far as advice goes, this one sounds somewhat aggressively charged but also apt with this heat wave as the mere thought of cooking on the stove (and please let us not even mention the oven) is frankly appalling.
Mindful of the heat, here’s an easy-breezy recipe that will revive the mortal flesh, refresh the immortal spirit, and best of all it requires zero contact with the dreaded stove.
A classic summer-time light fare in many an Iranian households is “noon’o panir’o-hendonneh,” or literally: “bread and cheese and watermelon.” The name is a mouthful in both languages, so maybe we can just call it a watermelon sandwich? A free-spirited deconstructed watermelon sandwich — unconfined by the tyrannical bonds of bread? A stream-of-consciousness sandwich?
You eat the deconstructed watermelon sandwich as you please, and there is no cooking — only a simple prep and assemblage. The key thing is to make sure the watermelon is thoroughly chilled. Warm watermelon is like a bad kiss – it just makes you sad, and why bother? So chill that watermelon!
Other than that, gather your feta cheese — goat cheese makes an excellent substitute — walnuts, fresh mint, and bread; and get ready to construct a hands-on lunch that is light, perfectly chill, juicy, and refreshing. And it smells divine as well.
- Watermelon (thoroughly chilled)
- Walnuts (coarsely chopped)
- Feta cheese (or goat cheese)
- Fresh mint
- Bread (ideally flatbread or lavash)
- Make as many watermelon wedges as you see fit and place in a big serving bowl.
- Fill a small serving bowl with coarsely chopped walnuts. Fill another small bowl with feta cheese (cut into one inch or larger cubes.)
- Trim stems of fresh mint. Wash, rinse, and gently pat dry (no rough handling or you’ll bruise the tender-skinned mint.) Arrange in a heap on a small plate.
Make a bite-size feta and walnut sandwich. Munch. Alternate with taking bites of watermelon. Nibble on the fresh mints in between. Or just wrap everything in bread and munch. There are no rules. It is strictly up to you and your taste buds.
Make it, eat it, and noosheh jaan!