Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil

For the basil oil

  • 2 cups fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad

  • 6 cups cold cubed watermelon (from about 4 1/2 pounds watermelon), rind removed
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled soft goat cheese (4 ounces)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Make the basil oil: Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch basil for 1 minute. Transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain.

Puree basil in a blender with olive oil until smooth. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined fine sieve set over a bowl. Let stand until oil drips through, about 1 hour (do not squeeze cheesecloth).

Make the salad: Toss together watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with goat cheese. Drizzle with basil oil and more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil.

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