What’s cooking today: Watermelon salad with pancetta and feta

Tony Jackman’s watermelon salad with nectarine, pancetta and feta, served on matte black oblong platters by Mervyn Gers. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Welcome to 2022 and here’s a cool way to start the new TGIFood year: a salad of watermelon with feta, pancetta, nectarine and chilli, finished with a simple Asian dressing.

Watermelon makes a delicious salad, as a starter or light lunch. Feta goes well with it, as do bacon or pancetta, or ham for that matter, and a touch of red chilli adds to its savoury flair.

It’s ridiculously easy to put together, and if you cut the watermelon into neat wedges it can look great when plated up.

I’m not giving specific quantities as this is a moveable feast: just use as much as makes sense depending on how many you’re serving and whether it’s a starter or meal in its own right.


Watermelon, sliced in wedges

Nectarine, in slim half-moon slivers

Red chillies, seeded and diced finely

Feta, crumbled or in slim strips

Pancetta, in thin slivers

Mint leaves


Sweet soy sauce


Black pepper and salt to taste


Arrange wedges attractively and place bits of the other ingredients on and around them.

Mix together equal quantities of mirin and sweet soy sauce and drizzle over. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Garnish with small mint leaves. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

SUBSCRIBE: There’s much more from Tony Jackman and his food writing colleagues in his weekly TGIFood newsletter, delivered to your inbox every Saturday. Subscribe here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.


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