Like many of you, every Saturday morning I go to Ta’ Qali market. It has become a weekly ritual I cannot skip. I usually go there very early in the morning trying to get the local produce as fresh as possible and I have even developed my own little paths, which I follow: this row for tomatoes, those farmers selling the best cucumbers, fresh herbs stand on my way to the car.
Then comes another part of the ritual: distribution of fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. And I’m very serious about that… figs in the fridge, tomatoes on the countertop and pumpkin into the pantry.
While unpacking my shopping bags, I’m thinking of what to do with the ingredients I bought. I usually have a lot of ideas but, to be honest, I’m getting so hungry by lunch that I end up preparing something really simple: I just chop everything, tear some fresh soft herbs and flavor everything with some nice olive oil, some sea salt flakes and cracked pepper. Don’t forget about freshly baked bread to soak all the juices up!
It’s true that the secret of any successful dish lies in the quality of its ingredients. Use the sweetest watermelon you can find, ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh ġbejna. Torn some basil leaves over the plate just before serving and enjoy!
Farmers market salad with ġbejna friska
to make a big bowl that serves approximately 2
- ½ medium seedless watermelon
- A big handful of mixed cherry tomatoes (red, orange, yellow and green)
- 1 shallot
- A handful of dark olives (better pitted)
- 2 pieces of ġbejna friska (I use one from sheep milk)
- Olive oil
- Some fresh lemon juice
- Fresh basil leaves
- Basil flowers (if you have on your bunch)
- Black pepper
- Chop the watermelon flesh into cubes. Wash and dry tomatoes and cut them in halves. Finely slice the shallot. Pit or sliver olives or leave them whole. Drain ġbejna well and crumble it into big pieces.
- Mix everything in a bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and juice over it, tearing some basil leaves and seasoning with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy to use your hands (perfectly clean of course!) to toss all these delicious and colorful goodies together.
- Sprinkle with some basil flowers and serve.