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Watermelon & Feta Salad with Serrano Chile Vinaigrette

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From Athens, Georgia chef, Hugh Acheson

Serves 6

Ingredients
½ to 1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 small shallot, minced
1 Serrano chili pepper, stemmed and sliced or chopped
Salt to taste
1 small seedless watermelon
1/3 lb block of feta cheese, sliced into 1/8″ slices (about 12 slices) *optional
1 bunch arugula, washed and drained

Directions
In a jar or salad bottle with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, lime juice, champagne vinegar, thyme, shallot, and Serrano pepper. Shake well. Season dressing with salt to taste; chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice watermelon into 3″ squares, about ¼-inch thick. On small salad plates, begin to assemble each serving of the salad. To assemble, place one slice of watermelon on the plate; next, layer one slice of feta on top of the first watermelon slice. Repeat, layering another watermelon slice and then one more feta slice. End with a final watermelon slice on top. Place about one handful of arugula on the plate, encircling the stacked watermelon/feta. Drizzle the stack and the arugula with the vinaigrette and garnish with a few slices of Serrano pepper. Chill for 15 minutes or serve immediately.

*For those of you who don’t eat dairy, the salad is also delicious without the feta.