Appetite For Instruction: Watermelon Salad

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Recipe Demonstrated by José, Chad and Janice of Parigi

In a town obsessed with new, there's something refreshing about longevity. Dallasites love to flock to the latest hot spots, packing dining rooms three deep for about three weeks and then forgetting the place altogether. A classic like Parigi, though, which turns 25 this November, seems to always be in style.

Janice Provost has owned the Oak Lawn Avenue bistro for eight years; partner and fellow chef Chad Houser joined her about a year ago. Their complimentary relationship is the key to the restaurant's ongoing success--her analytical personality is a match for his eager enthusiasm. Chef José Matu completes the equation. Right hand man to Provost and Houser, he shares their skill and commitment to local and sustainable ingredients.

Today they'll demonstrate Parigi's Watermelon Salad (with Matu in the lead). It's a combination that's fresh and surprising and absolutely right--kinda like the folks who make it.

Step 1: Prepare balsamic reduction by combining ¼ cup balsamic vinegar with 2 tsp. brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced to the consistency of maple syrup.

Step 2: For a pretty presentation that'll make your friends go "Oooooo", cut out watermelon bowls with two round cookie cutters (see picture). One round should fit inside the other, creating a donut-shaped watermelon bowl in which to place the salad.

Step 3: Combine 1 cup diced watermelon, ¼ cup crumbled feta, 1 tsp. chopped mint, the juice of half a lemon and 1 tbsp. of balsamic reduction in a large bowl. Toss gently and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Pile salad into watermelon bowl and garnish with additional sprigs of mint and shaved red onion. Drizzle with olive oil and additional balsamic reduction, if desired. This salad is ideal for late summer. Pair with a warm afternoon and a chilled bottle of something dry and bubbly.

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